February 5, 2021
COVID-19 Vaccine Information
Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccination began Monday, February 1. This phase includes persons 65 and older, prioritized frontline workers, and specific populations vulnerable to high risk of exposure or severity of illness. Populations included in Phase 1A and persons 65 and older and may receive vaccine at any time.
Vaccine supply is extremely limited. We ask our community to be patient as we work to vaccinate as many individuals as possible given the vaccine availability. Currently, demand for vaccine far exceeds the supply. We understand the frustration with the lack of vaccine and limited vaccine appointments. We are just as frustrated as you are. Linn County providers are prepared to administer more vaccine to more people once more vaccine is available.
The Iowa Department of Public Health has told Linn County Public Health beginning the week of February 8, approximately 3,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be allocated to Linn County each week through the end of February. This is an increase from the average supply to date. Previously the average number of doses allocated to Linn County averaged 1,000 doses per week. This does not include vaccine that is part of the Long-Term Care Pharmacy Partnership Program or the Retail Pharmacy Program, as those programs are administered at the federal level.
This week, the Iowa Department of Public Health announced vaccines were available at select Walgreens and CVS locations for Iowans age 65 and older. This one-time availability of 64,000 doses available through these pharmacies was due to unused vaccine originally set aside for the Long-Term Care Pharmacy Partnership Program. These unused doses were split between the 10 most populous counties, including Linn County. Once the doses are administered, no additional doses will be allocated to this effort. The one-time offer of vaccine through these pharmacies was coordinated at the state level. From what we have been informed, all vaccine slots in Linn County have been filled.
Beginning the week of February 8, the Retail Pharmacy Program will begin in Iowa. Hy-Vee and CPESN pharmacies have been selected by CDC as the pharmacy providers for this program. Participating store locations will be announced next week. Additional pharmacies will be added at a later date. Please do not call or walk-in to your pharmacy to request vaccine. Details on how to make an appointment will be shared next week.
Please sign up to receive email notifications for COVID-19 Status Updates to keep up-to-date on vaccine rollout updates and other important information regarding COVID-19 response. For assistance with signing up for updates, view this video. In addition to the Linn County COVID-19 vaccine website LinnCounty.org/Vaccine, updates will also be shared on Facebook and Twitter. For questions on COVID-19 vaccine in Linn County, call 319-892-6097. Stay tuned to local news outlets for updated information.
Vaccine remains in short supply, and not everyone in Phase 1B will be able to get vaccine right away. It may take weeks to months for the Phase 1B populations to receive vaccine.
Linn County Public Health plans to ensure equal amounts of vaccine available in Linn County to persons 65 and older and to populations vulnerable to high risk of exposure or severity of illness, beginning with identified Tier 1 populations.
For the week of February 8, LCPH will allocate 70% of county vaccine to the Tier 1 population and 30% to persons 65 and older. This is an effort to balance vaccine between the two groups given the availability of extra vaccine available to the 65 and older population through CVS and Walgreens and the beginning of the Retail Pharmacy Program.
Even with vaccine supply increasing slightly, it will still take time to move through Phase 1B. There are 36,000 people 65 and older in Linn County, and approximately 11,000 people in Tier 1, the first of five tiers in Phase 1B.
A report of COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Administered in Iowa by county is posted at https://coronavirus.iowa.gov/:
- 24,075 doses have been administered by Linn County providers, with 6,313 vaccine series complete by Linn County providers
Persons 65 years and older
- Due to the limited amount of vaccine available, appointments are required, and are anticipated to fill quickly. Additional appointments will be opened as supply increases.
- Local health care and vaccine providers are trying every possible way to reach our 65 and older population to offer vaccine. Local providers are contacting their patients by phone, mail, email, text, or messaging such as MyChart to offer appointments for vaccine. Each provider has their own process for contacting their patients and making vaccine appointments. Linn County Public Health does not oversee the appointment process.
- Vaccine providers ask that patients do not call their clinics requesting the vaccine at this time, as a high volume of calls makes it more difficult to address those patients with immediate needs. Additionally, patients should not walk-in to clinics at this time to request vaccine. You may also check your healthcare provider’s website for additional information and instructions for making an appointment.
- If you do not have a primary health care provider, please contact Linn County Public Health at 319-892-6097 for assistance.
- For more information on vaccine for persons 65 and older, visit: https://www.linncounty.org/1514/Adults-65
- Due to the limited supply of vaccine, vaccine will be prioritized to identified groups within Tier 1.
- Considerations for prioritization within Tier 1 include high risk of exposure, severity of illness, and ensuring sustainability of frontline workers.
- Additionally, Tier 1 agencies and organizations will be asked to prioritize vaccine within their organization.
- For more information on vaccine for identified populations for Tiers 1-5, visit: https://www.linncounty.org/1517/COVID-19-Vaccine-Phase-1B
Vaccine Distribution Highlights
Current Phase: Phase 1B, Tier 1
Projected time to next phase: Unknown
Populations included within Phase 1B:
- Persons 65 years and older
- Specific populations vulnerable to high risk of exposure or severity of illness
Progress within Phase 1B:
- Beginning January 26, Linn County began offering vaccine to persons 65 years of age and older. An additional 3,200 doses were offered through Linn County CVS and Walgreens. There are 36,000 people 65 and older in Linn County.
- Tier 1, Group 1 (Law enforcement, fire department personnel, and emergency response personnel) were offered vaccine beginning on February 1. Group 2 (Early Childhood Education staff, School transportation staff, Childcare Centers with 10 or more staff, PreK-5th Grade building teachers and staff, and Grant Wood Area Education Agency staff working with PreK- 5th grade students) is anticipated to begin next week. There are approximately 11,000 people in Tier 1, Groups 1-5.
- Vaccine will continue to be offered to Phase 1A populations as they are identified and request vaccine. Phase 1A populations request to be vaccinated should complete the employer vaccine form to request vaccination.
Groups to be offered vaccine next:
The CDC has recommended priority populations for Phase 1C, however, a recommendation for Iowa has not been made.
Projected time to next phase: Unknown
Linn County Public Health (LCPH) is compiling information from employers to help link you and your staff to agencies administering the COVID-19 vaccine as it becomes available. LCPH has recently developed an employer vaccine form for employers interested in offering COVID-19 vaccine to their employees.
- Employers who have employees in Phase 1B should complete the form now, if they have not done so already. Phase 1A populations that have not yet received vaccine can still complete the form.
- Those that have already completed the form do not need to do so again.
- It is best to access the form in Chrome.
- We recommend filling out the comments section with exactly what you do, where you go, and what patient contact you have (if any). This helps LCPH place you accordingly for vaccine.
- Complete the form here, or direct link is: https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/891d3217630c46cebd1b5db8bba47b8a?portalUrl=https://lcgis.linncounty.org/portal
For questions about COVID-19 vaccine in Linn County:
COVID-19 Variant Strain Update
On Tuesday, the Iowa Department of Public Health confirmed three cases of the COVID-19 variant, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7. in Iowa, located in Bremer and Johnson counties. This variant is often referred to as the U.K. variant because it was first detected in the United Kingdom. Based on epidemiologic and modeling data, researchers believe that the B.1.1.7 strain can be spread more easily than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. Current COVID-19 vaccines are considered to be effective against the variant strain.
Updates to Iowa's B.1.1.7 cases will be shared on the CDC's website at https://bit.ly/2MnXCFy. These case counts only represent the variant strains that are confirmed through genomic sequencing, and may not accurately reflect the true number of variant cases.
It remains critical for Iowans to continue the mitigation efforts that we know work to slow the spread of COVID-19:
- Wear a mask or face covering
- Practice social distancing with those outside your household
- Clean your hands frequently with soap and water
- Stay home if you feel sick
- Get tested if you are exposed to, or have symptoms of COVID-19
- Consider getting a COVID-19 vaccine when it's available to you
Linn County Case Count Data
- Active cases: 2,076
- Total cases to date: 18,812
- Currently hospitalized: 20
- Total deaths: 310
- Total recovered: 16,426
Additional data on COVID-19 cases is available on Linn County’s case count dashboard.
Linn County Metrics
- Test Positivity Rate*: 17.9%
*Percent of positive tests to date since beginning of pandemic
- 7-Day Test Positivity Rate: 10.6%
- 14-Day Test Positivity Rate: 9.8%
- Current Recommendation for Actions to Combat Increase in COVID-19: Tier 2, effective January 25, 2021
Additional Linn County metrics are available on Linn County’s metrics dashboard.
For more COVID-19 information specific to Linn County, visit LinnCounty.org/COVID19.