(The Center Square) – Every adult Iowan is now eligible to receive help through the 211 call center in scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.
In a Wednesday news conference, Gov. Kim Reynolds urged those hesitating to get the vaccine to go ahead and get it.
“If you’re opting to wait and see, what are you waiting for? If you’ve been a hard no from the start, what’s your reason? And if you can’t answer those questions, maybe, we hope you take the time to reconsider,” Reynolds said.
The majority, “more than 53%,” of adult Iowans to date have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Reynolds said. More than 37% have been fully vaccinated, ranking Iowa 15th in the country, she said. However, the CDC’s pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week due to some reported incidents of blood clotting “has some Iowans reconsidering” whether to get vaccinated, she said.
“As a result, this week 43 counties have declined some or all of their vaccine allocation for next week so that supply doesn’t exceed the current demand,” she said.
Declined vaccine supplies have been reallocated to areas with higher populations where demand is higher, but even in those areas, demand has decreased, she said.
Young adults are among groups hesitant to receive the vaccine, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation research project.
College clinics, which had been allocated Johnson & Johnson vaccines, received additional allocations of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and were able to reopen within “just a day or two” and students continued to get vaccinated, Reynolds said.
Iowa State University Associate Vice President of Student Health and Wellness Erin Baldwin encouraged students and all adults to get the vaccine.
“We know that vaccination efforts are going to support our efforts to return to a more traditional Iowa State University experience, and we really want our students to have the opportunity to be in the classroom, participate in student organizations, attend athletic events, spend time with their friends and find their community of people that makes Iowa State such a special place,” Baldwin said.
Reynolds asked parents of college-aged students to encourage them to get the vaccine.
Reynolds also said that while “breakthrough infections” can occur if a vaccine recipient’s immune system doesn’t develop “a strong enough protective response” from the vaccine, “even a lower antibody rate can still provide protection from serious illness” if the individual becomes infected.
A case of COVID-19 variant SARS-CoV-2 P.1, the Brazilian variant, was detected in Johnson County and identified by the State Hygienic Lab, according to an April 15 news release from the Iowa Department of Public Health. The lab is doing sequencing to understand what strains are circulating in the state.
“We are still learning about the characteristics of this strain including any potential impact on vaccine effectiveness. … IDPH and local public health have already initiated contact with the individual to understand exposures and initiate the health monitoring process,” the news release stated.
The department urged Iowans to continue mitigation efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, including wearing masks, social distancing, handwashing frequently, staying home if sick, getting tested in case of experiencing exposure to or symptoms of COVID-19, and getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
CDC guidelines for those who have been fully vaccinated are listed here.