Iowa clarifies allocation of Johnson and Johnson vaccine after i9 Investigation
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - On Friday, officials with the Iowa Department of Public Health clarified how it’s prioritizing who gets the single-dose Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. This comes after our i9 Investigative unit detailed complaints from local public health officials urging the state to give those doses to vulnerable populations. That includes people who are homeless, in prison or immigrants.
Linn County’s email to the state cited equity in wanting more control over who gets that Johnson and Johnson vaccine. County Health Leaders say that a 1-dose vaccine is best used for people less likely to show up for a second appointment. That could be people who don’t speak English, live in transitional housing, inmates or people who are homeless.
While the state is allocating thousands of doses to counties for that purpose, 700 doses going to Linn County, it is also giving thousands more to colleges and manufacturing businesses. Linn County Public Health argues it’s much easier to arrange second doses for those groups.
The county specifically pointed to the 3,200 doses of Johnson and Johnson given to employees at Collins Aerospace. The county argues it would be easy to give those employees 2-doses at their in-house health clinic. We reached out to the company today to learn more about why their employees would need the one dose option compared to two doses alone. They didn’t get back to us yet.
On Friday, leaders at the Iowa Department of Public Health clarified its goal is to vaccinate people quickly. It wants to get college students who will be heading home first - then move to staff.
The state says Collins was part of the first wave of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. That targeted food processors and manufacturing facilities that can’t social distance.
At the same time, leaders with Willis Dady told us it plans to work with officials at Mercy to vaccinate people who are homeless in a few weeks using those Johnson and Johnson doses.
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