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Multiple counties are unsure if they will use Iowa’s centralized vaccine website

Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 8:11 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Multiple county health departments told our KCRG-TV9 i9 Investigative Unit they don’t have enough information about a new centralized vaccine scheduling website from Microsoft to fully commit to using it.

The state of Iowa picked Microsoft earlier in February to build an online vaccine scheduling system. The company is responsible for developing and deploying an online registration system, connected to counties and pharmacies offering shots.

Counties don’t have to use the new website from Microsoft because each county already has its own system for setting up vaccination appointments. These counties had to create their own systems because vaccinations have started in December and Iowa requires counties administer at least 80% of their doses to receive their next shipment.

The website, which around 10 different county health departments told us it was unsure if it would use, will likely cost taxpayer money.

Linn, Dubuque and Washington Counties are some of the counties that said it was waiting to learn more about the website before it could determine if it would use it or not.

Poweshiek County Public Health did not comment if it would use the website or not. But said, in an email, it has seen no specifics on the Microsoft centralized build.

Other counties said it is unlikely they would use the Microsoft website because switching can take away time from some of these health departments who are understaffed and trying to organize clinics themselves.

A spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Public Health did not answer our questions if it will require counties to use the new Microsoft website. But, said it has sought feedback from local public health on what a centralized system would look like for their usability.

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