CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus vaccines to arrive as early as next week in Linn County

Health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities to receive first doses

This May 4, 2020, file photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows the first patient enrolled
This May 4, 2020, file photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer’s COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. (Courtesy of University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP)

The first coronavirus vaccines are expected to arrive in Linn County as early as next week, Linn County Public Health said Thursday, with health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities receiving the first doses.

“As more vaccines become available, these groups will broaden to include more people becoming eligible to receive them,” said Tricia Kitzmann, Linn County Public Health’s community health manager, in a news release.

Linn County Public Health is working with Mercy Medical Center and UnityPoint Health to “ensure that the safe and effective vaccines reach Linn County residents as quickly and equitably as possible,” according to a joint statement from the three entities.

The coronavirus vaccine supply is expected to increase substantially in 2021, Linn County Public Health said. Residents will eventually be able to be vaccinated at local pharmacies and some clinics.

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics said Wednesday it expects to receive the vaccine “imminently” and could start administering doses next week.

The news comes a day after Iowa reported its 3,000th death from coronavirus, according to Iowa Department of Public Health data analyzed by The Gazette. The state’s total case count surpassed 250,000 Thursday.

“While vaccines are an important tool to control the pandemic, we also need to stay vigilant in wearing masks, washing our hands and physically distancing until we reach an immunity level to control this pandemic,” said Tony Myers, Mercy Medical Center’s vice president of system quality, risk and medical affairs, in the news release.

Comments: (319) 398-8394; john.steppe@thegazette.com

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