One week after selecting Microsoft to create a centralized system for COVID-19 vaccination in Iowa, Governor Reynolds announced on Wednesday that the contract has been canceled and no new system will be created. Rather, she says state resources will be used to improve the wide range of current systems being offered by local governments and private partners across the state.
The state announced a contract with Microsoft last Monday after a brief RFP process that was open for just one day. Governor Reynolds had promised last week that the Microsoft system could be operating in as little as two weeks. But after further review, she now says Microsoft’s proposed plan would actually make the state’s already slow vaccination rollout plan even slower.
“It quickly became apparent that integrating the many already existing registration and scheduling platforms that are used by some of our public health departments, pharmacies as well as other vaccine providers – it would not be possible in a timely manner without significant disruption to their current systems and we did not want to slow down the progress that we are making,” Governor Reynolds said in announcing the canceled contract on Wednesday.
Reynolds says the state will instead shift its focus to helping improve the multitude of different systems being used individual counties and providers. Governor Reynolds had previously said the state was looking to activate a statewide call center to assist with scheduling issues. She now says that plan has been scrapped as well. Instead, the state will work with 211 and local Area Agencies on Aging to hopefully improve the services they are already offering.
Governor Reynolds and her stafff say the state could see some issues with vaccine allocation this week due to the severe winter weather across the country slowing down distribution nationwide. Governor Reynolds says the Biden Administration has asked states to focus on offering more vaccinations on the weekends when Americans are more likely to have free time. Governor Reynolds says she fully supports that thinking and will work to make it happen in Iowa.