What Iowa State students need to know about Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine


The COVID-19 vaccine will not give you COVID-19 because it does not use a live copy of the virus.

Abby Long

Phase 1B of the coronavirus vaccine began Monday, which consists of a five-tier priority process that does not include higher education. People 65 and older who live independently are eligible to receive the vaccine during any of the tiers in Phase 1B. 

“It makes no sense because they definitely want you to go back to school, they want you to have instructors come in and teach classes in classrooms and that makes sense, I agree, but I also don’t want to see vulnerable people in classrooms getting infected,” District 45 Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell said. 

Wessel-Kroeschell expressed the importance of transparency in regards to the groups of people who have been deciding how the vaccine will be distributed. She thinks making these decisions behind closed doors takes away from voices that need to be heard. 

“I think that universities should have some say in the fact that you want us to go back to in-person teaching, but you’re not making sure we get the vaccine,” she said. 

Iowa will receive an increase of 16 percent in its vaccine allocation, about 3,600 additional doses, for the next three weeks, according to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ press conference Jan. 27. She said the nation’s current vaccine supply cannot keep up with the high demand. 

“Although they are going to allow these groups to start getting the vaccine, we have to understand that supply is still trickling in from national sources,” Wessel-Kroeschell said.

While resources like vaccines and testing have remained limited throughout the pandemic, Reynolds faced accusations of preferential treatment. The accusations said Reynolds gave COVID-19 resources to one of her major campaign donors instead of area businesses that needed the resources in Iowa.

“There are a lot of nursing homes that could have used that,” Wessel-Kroeschell said. “… But with having a spread that comes from people who are asymptomatic and only focusing on your big contributor and not those nursing homes or any other congregate living area, I think that is just absolutely wrong.”

Problems within the pandemic have come up due to choices made over decades. Edith Parker, dean of the University of Iowa College of Public Health, said the neglect of public health at the federal, state and local level has been seen clearly during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

McFarland Clinic is contacting Ames residents who are older than 65 years and live independently to receive the vaccine.

“Unless we suddenly get a large influx of vaccines, once it gets to the college, if there’s limited supply, they’re going to look for the students and the professors and the teachers who have some preexisting condition that would make them more vulnerable to the disease,” Wessel-Kroeschell said.

President Joe Biden said that with the verbal order of 200 million doses of vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, the country will have enough supply to vaccinate every American with two doses by the end of the summer.

Until higher education is eligible for the vaccination, professionals encourage students on campus to keep within your pandemic pod, or the small group of people you live and/or hang out with, and continue to wear your mask even after the vaccination is received. 

“The clinical trials that evaluated the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines did not assess if these vaccines halt transmission, so while they may, we do not have data that proves that definitely,” Parker said. “Thus, wearing masks is crucial, even if vaccinated, so you will not transmit the disease.” 

You can sign up to be notified when the vaccine is available at McFarland Clinic in Ames at www.mcfarlandclinic.com/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccine