State vaccine allocations increase but remain limited in Story County

New legislation bans concepts that label America and Iowa as systemically racist, and it is intended to prevent racial and sex scapegoating. 

New legislation bans concepts that label America and Iowa as “systemically racist,” and it is intended to prevent “racial and sex scapegoating.” 

Eva Newland and Jack Nichols

Gov. Kim Reynolds has set aside several Johnson & Johnson vaccines for college students, but Iowa State is not among those chosen for the first allocation. 

Iowa is expected to receive an additional 25,000 doses of three different COVID-19 vaccinations, bringing the weekly total to around 128,000 doses. 18,000 of the weekly increase will be the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Director of Story County Public Health Lesla White said Story Country will not have enough vaccines for everyone by the expected April 5 date. 

“Currently, our allocation for next week is 2,070 doses, so this is not enough to do the entire county,” White said. “It is our hope that the allocations at some point will increase, but currently, we do not know by how much. So everyone needs to be patient, and over time, everyone that wants the vaccine in Story County will be able to get it.” 

White said Thielen Student Health Center and Story County Public Health have been working closely with each other since the start of the pandemic. 

On March 31, Reynolds gave a press conference on vaccination rates. According to Reynolds, Iowa currently ranks 17 in the nation for the percentage of Iowans aged 18 and older that have received at least one vaccine dose. 

“More than 1.52 million doses of vaccine have been administered to eligible Iowans 18 and older at the time of this report,” Reynolds said. 

Of those 1.52 million doses, Story County has received 16,320 prime doses and 13,170 boost doses, according to the coronavirus vaccine allocation tracker

In Story County, 8,700 residents are preparing for their first dose with another 13,000 scheduled to receive their second dose. 

Reynolds announced that Iowa is on track to open up vaccination to everyone 18 and up, as long as the supply increases. She is also trying to get as many college students vaccinated as possible before the second semester ends. 

“The state is working now with regents, private and community colleges to support the vaccination of college students and staff before they leave campus for the summer,” she said. 

Reynolds emphasized that vaccinating college students while they were still on campus would reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they return to their hometowns. 

As part of this initiative, Reynolds has promised a small supply of Johnson and Johnson vaccines directly to a few Iowa colleges, including Dordt University, Northwestern College, the University of Iowa and Des Moines Area Community College.  

This shipment is planned to arrive next week, and student vaccinations will begin in the weeks following. 

“We will allocate larger amounts of the [Johnson and Johnson] vaccine for this purpose and provide a regular allocation to our local public health departments,” Reynolds said. 

Story County has not received any Johnson and Johnson vaccines, according to the vaccine allocation record. However, Story County Health has partnered with Thielen to vaccinate faculty and staff members on campus. 

Erin Baldwin, Thielen director and associate vice president for student health and wellness, has had a major part in the vaccination process. She said vaccines are still very limited, and students will know when they qualify for vaccinations. 

Vaccines are being administered in State Gym, and Baldwin said there is a vaccination working group that is developing plans to offer vaccines to all employees and students when supply is up and the vaccines are open to the general public. 

Because of the extra workload the makeshift vaccination clinic has caused, Baldwin stressed the importance of not calling Thielen about eligibility for vaccinations. She said everyone who qualifies will be notified.  

“To date, these allocations have been focused on students and employees who meet the criteria in phase 1A and 1B of the [Iowa Department of Public Health] plan,” she wrote in an email.

As for the increase of vaccines arriving by April 5, Baldwin said Iowa State will be able to offer expanded coverage.

“ISU is prepared and ready to offer large-scale campus vaccine clinics once the supply chain becomes available,” Baldwin said. “All vaccine plans and clinics incorporate Cyclones Care mitigation strategies.”

Baldwin wrote that Iowa State will continue working with health officials as the supply chain expands and also specified that out-of-state students will be able to get the vaccine.  

“These vaccine clinics would be open to all ISU students, faculty and staff, regardless of residency status,” she said. “We continue working with [Story County Public Health] and [the Iowa Department of Public Health] on supply chain and will continue providing updates to campus as more information is available.”  

Baldwin explained vaccines are available through multiple clinics throughout Iowa and advised those who would like more information and updates to visit Iowa State’s COVID-19 information page for a list of vaccine locations and Iowa State health updates.

“We encourage students, faculty and staff to explore all available vaccine resources and providers,” Baldwin wrote.

Reynolds believes supply will increase enough that the general public will be able to be vaccinated starting April 5, but that could be subject to change.