After a delay in vaccination deployment due to the frigid weather across the United States, Gov. Kim Reynolds confirms an additional 25,800 Johnson & Johnson vaccines are being sent to Iowa in initial allocation in the following weeks.
The Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine has acquired FDA endorsement for emergency use. Reynolds also announced the launching of a website that will provide vaccine information for COVID-19 on Thursday during her weekly press conference.
The website will provide eligibility resources available to assist Iowans in getting vaccinated. It will also provide answers to frequently asked questions on the site.
The website includes a vaccine locator, which will allow users to find providers nearest to them. The website itself doesn’t provide a way to schedule vaccination appointments, but according to Reynolds, it still can make the process easier for Iowans.
“I want to be clear that you cannot schedule an appointment on this site,” Reynolds said during her press conference. “But it will connect you to a provider for scheduling in their system.”
Reynolds noted the main goal of the website is to increase the efficiency of getting vaccines to the people. Limited supplies have impacted appointment availability in the past few weeks, but according to Reynolds, the process should begin to speed up.
The website will be updated regularly, and it also features the ability to translate into multiple languages to serve Iowans of all backgrounds.
Reynolds also discussed the importance of vaccinating the elderly population.
“We all know that this is the population most vulnerable to hospitalizations due to COVID-19,” Reynolds said. “So, it is absolutely critical that they are vaccinated as quickly as possible to protect their health.”
With that being said, most of the vaccination process is being handled online, which has proven difficult to people of older ages. To combat this, Reynolds is establishing a team of vaccine navigators to schedule appointments for Iowans ages 65 and older.
The service will be run through the 2-1-1 call center, and it will be available following the week of March 8. Until then, however, some vaccine navigators will begin helping citizens who have reached out to their Area Agencies on Aging for help scheduling their appointment.
Joe Sample, the executive director of Iowa Association of Area Agencies on Aging, was given the opportunity to share more about how they assist Iowans during the pandemic.
“Some of the key programs we provide are things you may be familiar with, such as home delivery meals, senior dining sites or even some case management support,” Sample said.
Sample continued to explain helping Iowans get proper information about the COVID-19 vaccine has become a key component of their work.
“COVID-19 is indeed an ageist virus,” Sample continued. “We encourage older Iowans to remain patient as vaccines become more readily available.”
The hope is that between the website and the vaccine navigators provided by the Iowa Association of Area Agencies on Aging, the process of getting a COVID-19 virus will become increasingly efficient.
“We’re trying to make this a one-stop shop,” Reynolds said. “By typing in your zip code, you’ll find providers nearest to you, and then you’ll be able to register through their site.”