116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Starting March 8, Iowans younger than 65 will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine if they have underlying medical conditions that put them at an increased risk of severe illness from the coronavirus.
The Iowa Department of Public Health made the announcement late Thursday in a news release, saying the decision comes after several counties have reported nearing completion of distributing the virus to other priority populations.
While the news release did not list the specific underlying medical conditions that qualify for vaccine eligibility in Iowa, the department did provide a link to a list of recommendations for those conditions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the CDC website, people with these conditions are at increased risk of severe illness from the coronavirus:
Chronic kidney disease
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
' Obesity (body mass index of 30 or higher but less than 40)
' Severe obesity (BMI greater than or equal to 40)
Sickle cell disease
Type 2 diabetes mellitus
The department of public health cautioned that Iowans should be patient because vaccine production has not yet met demand for the vaccine. Some counties are also continuing to vaccinate previous priority groups.
Iowans in previous priority groups who are able to receive the COVID vaccine now are: health care workers, long-term care facility residents and staff, people 65 and older, teachers and staff at K-12 schools, child care staff, and essential workers.
Help getting vaccines for 65+
The department also announced that starting March 9, Iowa's 211 call center will be able to help Iowans 65 and older who need assistance scheduling an appointment for a vaccines.
The news release also emphasized that Iowans vaccinated or not should continue mitigation measures to prevent spreading the virus. Those measures include wearing a mask or face covering, social distancing, frequent hand-washing, staying home if sick, and getting tested when exposed or showing symptoms of COVID-19.