OPINION

Health and Wellness: COVID-19 vaccines

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Health Department
Unity Point Nurse Samantha Tapscott delivers a the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to a Des Moines Fire Medic on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, in Des Moines, IA.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized two COVID-19 vaccines, shown to be safe and effective. The vaccines are allocated to the Iowa Department of Public Health, which in turn distributes doses to each of the 99 counties in Iowa. Dallas County is utilizing the Moderna vaccine. An FDA Factsheet is available.  This vaccine requires two doses, similar to many childhood immunizations.

Dallas County will be moving through the phased rollout of the COVID vaccinations at the direction of the Iowa Department of Public Health. Dallas County Health Department and participating pharmacy partners have administered vaccines to nearly all persons in Phase 1A (long term care staff and residents and healthcare workers with direct patient contact). Beginning Feb. 1, Phase 1B, Tier 1 will open. This includes first responders, pre-kindergarten – 12th grade school staff, early childhood education and childcare workers.

Currently, and continuing during all tiers of Phase 1B, direct care health workers, and persons age 65 and over will be eligible. Not everyone who is eligible will be vaccinated in the first few weeks, due to the limited number of doses allocated to Iowa. There are 11,000 residents of Dallas County who are age 65 and over.

All vaccines will require appointments. The best way to schedule an appointment is by going to www.dallascountyiowa.gov and clicking on the “Click Here” circle. Choose one of 10 locations in Dallas County and choose an open time slot. Vaccination sites rarely schedule more than a week out, because of the uncertainty of how many doses will be shipped to Iowa. There is no waiting list. There are no walk-in opportunities at this time.

Your second dose will be given at least 28 days after the first dose. Don’t be concerned if you must wait more than 28 days; the booster dose will still be effective. Vaccination sites will either schedule your appointment for the booster at the time of your first dose, or call you close to when you’re eligible for your second dose.

Pay attention to local media for updates on who is eligible and where to schedule appointments. Please show your “Iowa nice” by being patient.