Greene County Public Health received 300 doses of the Moderna MRNA Vaccine against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) Tuesday, December 22, 2020. The Iowa Department of Health Public (IDPH) COVID-19 Vaccine Sub-Committee authorized hospitals to begin vaccinating frontline workers as soon as vaccine arrives. These first allocations are very small in numbers and prioritized for people in high-risk groups, including front-line health care workers and long-term care residents. In addition to distributing the first set of vaccines to Greene County Medical Center, Greene County Public Health will also provide them to EMS, local pharmacies, dental offices, school nurses, and any other healthcare workers in our communities.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna Thursday, December 17, 2020 after determining that the vaccine was safe and effective. Following the FDA vote, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a group that provides guidance to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), issued recommendations on its use. Pfizer had the first approved vaccine the week prior.
A vaccine planning committee at the Medical Center, that includes representation from Greene County Public Health, have been preparing for the COVID-19 vaccine allocation for several weeks. “We have been anticipating receiving the vaccine and planning began several weeks ago. According to experts, the vaccine will be available to the public in the spring, with the intent to be those who want the vaccine, supply will be available,” said Becky Wolf Director of Greene County Public Health.
Recommendations for which groups receive the vaccine first come from the federal level, the FDA and the CDC. During this first phase of vaccine distribution in Greene County the intent is to keep as many healthcare workers healthy and available to care for patients in Greene County. Staff members have been divided into exposure risk tiers for priority in receiving the first allocation of the vaccine. Exposure risk is determined by both intensity as well as duration of potential exposure.
The next phase of distribution and vaccination will expand to other essential workers and high-risk patients. As more vaccines become available, eligible groups will broaden. Several manufacturers are developing COVID-19 vaccines for the United States so vaccine supply will continue to increase ensuring that by mid-2021, anyone who wants to receive the vaccine will have the opportunity, according to the CDC.
To reach the COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center, call 211. Resource specialists are available 24 hours a day to answer questions.