Effective Monday, March 8, 2021, the Iowa Department of Public Health authorized COVID-19 vaccine providers in Iowa to officially begin vaccinating additional priority populations. Individuals 64 years of age and younger with medical conditions that are or may be at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are now eligible. Audubon County continues to receive the Moderna vaccine. The Moderna vaccine can only be given to those that are 18 years of age or older.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adults of any age with the following conditions are at increased risk of severe illness and are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination.
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Down Syndrome
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
- Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes mellitus
- Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
- Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
- Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
- Liver disease
- Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
- Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
Audubon County Memorial Hospital and Clinics continues to work closely with Medicap Pharmacy to vaccinate the communities that we serve. Both vaccination sites continue to schedule patients for vaccination in accordance with the supply provided. As of March 10, 2021, 1,994 vaccines have been administered in Audubon County which does not include individuals who have received their vaccine elsewhere.
Audubon County Memorial Hospital and Clinics is currently working on a solution to allow community members to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine online, either on a computer or through your cellphone. This solution will be shared through Facebook and other avenues. At that time, people that are eligible for the vaccine, can sign up for the waiting list and schedule an appointment for the vaccine when supply is available. People can also sign up by calling 712-563-4611.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, because vaccine production has not fully met the demand for vaccine, Iowans will need to remain patient as vaccine production increases. The White House recently announced that by the end of May, there will be enough vaccine for anyone over the age of 16 who chooses to receive one.
The Iowa Department of Public Health is only allocating the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine to specific counties in Iowa. The counties chosen to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have significant populations of front-line essential workers in food, agriculture, distribution, and manufacturing sectors and who live or work in settings that make social distancing unfeasible. At this time, it is unlikely that Audubon County will receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The CDC released new guidance on March 8, 2021 for people who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. According to the CDC guidance, fully vaccinated people can safely visit with other fully vaccinated people and some low risk unvaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or social distancing. Someone is considered fully vaccinated two weeks following either a single shot of Johnson & Johnson or two weeks after their second shot of Moderna’s or Pfizer’s two-dose regimens.
Fully vaccinated people do not have to quarantine or get tested for Covid-19 if exposed to someone with the virus as long as they are not showing symptoms, the CDC advises. However, if a vaccinated person begins to display symptoms, they should isolate themselves and get tested for COVID-19.
There are still some activities fully vaccinated people cannot do just yet, the CDC warns. Vaccinated Americans should still avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings, and they should also continue wearing face masks and social distancing when in public. If a vaccinated person is visiting someone who is at risk for severe disease and is unvaccinated, they should still wear a mask, keep a 6-foot distance, and try to visit outdoors when possible, the agency says.
“While the new guidance is a positive step, many more people need to be fully vaccinated before everyone can stop taking most COVID-19 precautions,” the CDC said. “It is important that, until then, everyone continues to adhere to important mitigation measures to protect the large number of people who remain unvaccinated.”