All Iowan adults now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

By: 
Travis Fischer

More Iowans are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine as the state opens up eligibility to the state’s entire adult population.

Starting Monday, April 5, all Iowans age 16 and up are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine and all Iowans 18 and up are eligible to receive the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Studies have started on younger teens and, if approved for emergency use, high school aged kids may become eligible by the time the next school year starts.

“Expanding eligibility opens the opportunity for more Iowans to be vaccinated, but it also means that more Iowans will be vying for the vaccine appointments as they become available,” said Governor Kim Reynolds during her weekly press conference on Wednesday, March 31. “Even though the vaccine supply is increasing, there still, at this point, won’t be enough doses to vaccinate everyone immediately.”

To help those that have yet to receive their vaccine appointment, Reynolds announced that 211 COVID scheduling service is expanding to include people aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions that need extra help setting up an appointment. This service was previously exclusive to those 65 and up.

The State of Iowa marked off 1.5 million total doses of vaccine administered last week, with 185,984 doses administered bringing the total to 1,649,616. This includes 808,565 doses of Moderna, 796,251 doses of Pfizer, and 44,800 does of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

Another 83,735 Iowans have completed their vaccination series in the last week. With 618,085 completing their two dose vaccination and another 44,800 that have received the J&J vaccine, that brings the total of vaccinated Iowans to 662,885.

However, as vaccinations continue to gain speed, so does virus activity, which has surged in recent weeks.

Kelly Garcia, director of the Iowa Department of Human Services, attributed some of the increase in virus activity to recent Spring Break travel, noting that a third of the new cases are in people between the age of 18 and 29.

While this up tick is not yet something that concerns the state, Garcia did remind Iowans to keep their guard up to avoid an unnecessary outbreak.

“We must still recognize that the virus is still circulating in our state and we’re seeing that in the numbers,” said Garcia. “It remains critically important to follow all the mitigation measures that we’ve taken over the past year.”

Garcia noted that people should still avoid large gatherings, wear a mask when possible, wash frequently, maintain social distance, stay home when sick, and otherwise abide by the rules that have been stressed over the last year with the additional recommendation of getting vaccinated.

“You don’t want to be the person that spreads this virus in your community,” said Garcia.

As of Sunday, April 4, there have been 353,357 individuals positive with COVID-19 in the state, increasing the 349,785 total from the week prior by 3,643, a minor drop in new cases after surging by more than a thousand in the previous week.

The state has performed a total of 4,497,417 tests on 1,648,990 individuals since the pandemic began, including 2,940,576 PCR tests and 1,556,841 antigen tests. In the last week the state has processed 45,461 PCR tests and 38,920 antigen tests.

In the last week, 9% of new cases have been among the elderly (age 80+), 15% among older adults (60-79); 30% among middle aged adults (40-59); 42% among young adults (18-39); and 4% among children.

118,792 Iowans have undergone serology testing for coronavirus antibodies, which would indicate that they have had the virus. Of that number, 22,355, about 19%, have tested positive for antibodies.

Of the 1,160 individuals tested in the last week, 217 of them (18%) have tested positive.

Hospitalizations also remain on the rise, with 201 now hospitalized as of Sunday, an increase of five over the week prior. ICU cases received a slight bump as well, with 47 currently in an ICU.

Reported deaths have also spiked, with the state reporting 97 deaths over the last week bringing the state’s total to 5,822.

In total, approximately 3,420 elderly (58.74%); 2,002 older adults (34.39%), 350 middle aged adults (6.01%), 48 young adults (.83%), and at least one child (.03%) have died from the virus since the pandemic began.

Many of the new deaths can be attributed to the elderly demographic, with the state reporting 44 new resident deaths in long term care facilities, a large spike bringing the total number to 2,277.

Two long term care facilities in the state are still under outbreak status, now reporting 17 positive cases, up five from the previous week.

 

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