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BV County Public Health COVID Update

May 13, 2021 3:15pm

(Release from BV Public Health)

 

The first step of emergency use authorization of Pfizer vaccine for 12 – 15-year-old adolescents, recommendation from the FDA, has happened. The next step is for the CDC approve the use and we should receive an update on that tomorrow. This would allow another 5% of the US population, raising the total to 85%, to be eligible to receive the free vaccine. That will give us an increased opportunity to get an more BV County residents vaccinated. Vaccination is our best chance at beating this virus. As we know, the virus is mutating- which is what viruses do. At this point, the vaccines that are available are effective against the variants that are being identified.

In anticipation of this passing through the CDC, the Iowa Department of Public Health allocated Pfizer to many counties this week that typically have not been allocated Pfizer. We were one of those counties. When there is an allocation of Pfizer, the allocation is 1,170 doses and it is not possible at this time to request a partial allocation. To be good stewards of the vaccine and minimize waste, we have been working closely with other public health agencies in our service area- the same agencies that we partner with for emergency preparedness. Our group has accepted an allocation and will divide that amongst our public health agencies. BV County declined its allocation of both Pfizer and Moderna this week. We have enough vaccine available for people that wish to be vaccinated. We also have our three pharmacies in Storm Lake that are giving vaccinations as well.

The timing of the assumed approval for the younger adolescents is not optimal. The school year is coming to a close, so we do not have a captive audience like we would have if this was being approved a couple of months ago. However, we are working through ways to make vaccination as easy as possible for people. Hy-Vee has Pfizer on hand and they accept appointments or people can request vaccination on a walk-in basis if they are not able to make an appointment. Public Health will be reaching out to schools to determine the best plan to reach students with other activities that are happening throughout the summer.

“Normal life” would be great! We are starting to see restrictions lift for those that are fully immunized. To be fully immunized, people must be at least two weeks from their final dose of vaccine. That means both doses of Pfizer or Moderna and one single dose of Johnson & Johnson. School age students will need to start their Pfizer series by July 16 to be fully immunized before school resumes in the fall.

Throughout the county there are ongoing efforts to vaccinate those who have not yet made the choice to become vaccinated. Hy-Vee is working closely with SALUD to provide vaccine clinics to various ethnic groups. Walmart, Walgreens, and Hy-Vee all have vaccine available and take walk-ins for vaccination. Public Health is currently working with Tyson Foods and Rembrandt Foods to partner for two “Friends & Family” events in May and June. Both organizations have had great success in vaccinating their employees and we feel it is important to offer vaccine to their friends and family in an area where they feel safe and with a trusted partner. Both companies are currently working with their employees to collect the names of interested people. We have also been working with Buena Vista University to find creative ways to get the message out to the younger crowd.