By Clark Kauffman, Iowa Capital Dispatch
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday she expects all Iowa adults will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine beginning April 5.
Reynolds said that projection is based on the current expectation of a significant increase in the amount of vaccine that will soon be made available to Iowa.
At a news conference Wednesday, Reynolds said more than 31% of all adult Iowans have been given one or more doses of the vaccine to date, the 12th highest rate in the nation, and 17.6% are fully vaccinated.
“More vaccines means opportunities to vaccinate even more Iowans,” she said. “Today, I’m announcing that all Iowans will be eligible for vaccinations starting Monday, April 5 — as long as the vaccine allocation increases as we’ve been told, and as we are expecting.”
The governor said that to date more than 90% of Iowa’s nursing home residents, and more than 60% of the state’s nursing home workers, have chosen to be vaccinated.
Asked what message she has for Iowa Republicans given the recent national PBS poll indicating 49% of Republican men are not planning to be vaccinated, Reynolds said her message is the same for all Iowans.
“I’m encouraging all Iowans to do it,” she said. “We’ll continue to educate Iowans on why it’s important and why they are safe and why it’s the right thing to do… You know, there’s a little bit of that hesitancy at the beginning. We actually saw that in our long-term care rollout, with staff. But as we came back a second time for the second dose we saw more of them step in and get that first dose. So we’re still at about 60% there, which mirrors the national average.”
Reynolds said the statewide 2-1-1 call centers that currently help people age 65 and older schedule a vaccine might soon provide assistance to younger Iowans, as well, although no decisions have been made. “We’re looking into that and we’re kind of assessing what looks like,” she said.
She acknowledged that while third-party companies and organizations have begun offering assistance to Iowans looking for a vaccine, there are no immediate plans for the state to play a more active role in facilitating the process.
“Whatever comes in, we’re getting it out,” she said, referring to the supply and demand of the vaccine. “We are getting individuals scheduled and I appreciate other individuals that are helping Iowans with scheduling. That’s great. I appreciate their efforts in helping their fellow Iowans get an appointment, but we’re just still limited by the supply.”