JOHNSTON, IOWA — The first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are expected to arrive in the state of Iowa less than two weeks from now and more than 172,000 doses should be here by the end of the year.
Governor Kim Reynolds and Kelly Garcia, Director of the Iowa Department of Human Services, announced an updated deployment plan for those thousands of doses in a Thursday news conference at Iowa Public Television’s studios. Two vaccine makers, Pfizer and Moderna, are each awaiting emergency approval from the FDA to make the vaccine available.
If the vaccines are approved, Reynolds says the state will receive an inital shipment of 26,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine during the week of December 13th. The following week, more doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected along with an initial 54,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. Another 95,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine would come the following week. In total, Governor Reynolds says 172,000 doses will be in Iowa by year end.
The state is still finalizing its distribution plan with guidance from the federal government. Iowa health care workers and residents and employees of long term care facilities will be prioritized for the first round of inoculations.
Genesis confirmed to Local 4 News that it would be receiving the vaccine, but that vaccinations for health care workers are “not mandatory,” but the employees’ personal decision.
Vaccine distribution to long term care facilities will be handled by the state through major pharmacies.
Both vaccines require two doses, taken 28 days apart. The Pfizer vaccine must be kept chilled at extreme cold temperatures of -70 degrees Celsius, according to the Governor. The state has already identified 39 locations around the state that can store the vaccine safely at that temperature. The Moderna vaccine does not require extreme cold storage.
Garcia says the state will release additional guidance on its distribution plan on Friday. She says that by mid-2021 the state should have enough doses of the vaccine for anyone who wants it, however the initial doses will be targeted for the most at-risk populations.
The Iowa Department of Public Health confirmed the deaths of another 70 Iowans from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. The majority of those deaths occurred days or weeks ago and are just now being reported.