CORONAVIRUS

Iowa expecting more COVID-19 vaccines starting next week, Gov. Reynolds says

Reynolds says Biden administration is promising states a 16% increase

Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are seen ready to be used Dec, 14, 2020, as health care workers receive th
Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are seen ready to be used Dec, 14, 2020, as health care workers receive the first doses of the vaccine at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

JOHNSTON — Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday the federal government is promising states a 16 percent increase in vaccine doses starting next week, potentially boosting the number of shots available amid frustration that eligible people have been unable to get them.

Reynolds said officials in President Joe Biden’s administration promised governors in a call Tuesday that the federal government would increase state allocations to accelerate the national vaccination program.

The increased federal supply would raise Iowa’s weekly doses to 25,800 a week from the current 19,500 allocation for at least the next three weeks, Reynolds said at a news conference Wednesday at the Iowa PBS studios.

She said additional vaccine doses are available from the federal allocation to nursing homes. While about 90 percent of nursing home residents are accepting the vaccine, only about 50 percent of the staff members initially agreed to be vaccinated. Reynolds said staff rates have risen in the past week but there are additional vaccine doses potentially available for the state to use for the public.

Iowa is in a phase in which people 65 and older are eligible for vaccination, but the lack of supply has limited the number of individuals who have received shots.

The Iowa Department of Public Health said 198,764 Iowans have received a vaccine. The state said 128,913 have had at least the first shot while 40,331 have received both doses. The two vaccines now in wide distribution require two doses for a complete immune response.

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