COVID-19 NEWS

IDPH and its public and private partners have continued to prepare plans and procedures in case they should be needed. It is important for Iowans to prepare for the potential of COVID-19 in the same way they prepare for severe weather or other events that could disrupt their normal routine.

Please use the links below to access the most current information about COVID-19.

COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

When can I be vaccinated?

  • The recommendations are set by the Federal government based on availability of vaccine and clinical trial outcomes 
  •  WCPH does not have control over priority groups 
  • Phase 1A will include long-term care residents, long-term care workers and healthcare workers with direct patient care. WCPH will have direct contact with local providers to schedule vaccinations.

I have a note from my doctor. Can I get vaccinated sooner?

No - At this time only 1A criteria are being vaccinated.  We do not have enough vaccine allocated by the State to meet that demand, so we have to follow the phase criteria. 

I am planning a vacation. What do I need to know?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a new order effective January 26, 2021 to reduce introduction and the spread of new COVID-19 variants. This order requires all air passengers arriving from a foreign country to get tested for COVID-19 no more than 3 days before their flight departs. Proof of a negative test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 is required before boarding a flight. 

Do you have a waiting list for the vaccine?

No - As new priority groups become effective, WCPH will communicate who meets the criteria

When will new priority groups be established?

  • As more vaccine becomes available, the priority groups will be opened up by the State 
  • The recommendations are set by the Federal government based on availability of vaccine and clinical trial outcomes 
  • WCPH does not have control over priority groups

Will there be additional phases of vaccine rollout?

Yes 

  • Phase 1B (see detailed list under separate question)
  • Phase 1C is anticipated to include additional essential workers, individuals aged 65-74 and those aged 18-74 with high risk medical conditions
  • Priority group criteria is established by the Federal government and may change
  • WCPH does not have control over priority groups

Who is included in Phase 1B (in order of priority)?

Effective January 21, 2021, persons aged 65 years and older OR the following populations:

Tier 1 

  • First responders (ex. firefighters, police officers, dependent adult abuse and child welfare social workers) 
  • PK-12 school staff, early childhood education and childcare workers 

 Tier 2 

  • Frontline essential workers in food, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors who live or work in non-social distanced settings 
  • Individuals with disabilities living in home settings and their direct care staff 

 Tier 3 

  • Staff and individuals living in congregate settings not covered by previous Phase or Tier (does not include college dorms)
  • Government officials, including staff, engaged in state business at the Iowa Capitol during legislative session 

 Tier 4 

  • Inspectors responsible for hospital, long-term care, and child safety

Tier 5 

  • Correctional facility staff and individuals incarcerated

I do not fall into any of the priority groups. When can I be vaccinated?

  • By mid-2021 there should be enough vaccine available for anyone who wants it 
  • WCPH does not have control over priority groups

What should I expect after I am vaccinated?

  • Two vaccine doses are needed (2nd dose – Pfizer 21 days; Moderna 28 days) 
  • It takes about two weeks after getting the 2nd dose for the body to produce enough antibodies for fullest protection 
  • Some common side effects are: arm pain or swelling at the injection site, fever, chills, tiredness, headache, and body aches

Why would you give back vaccine if there are still people who want it?

  • We are STILL vaccinating people in the 1A priority group.  However, when we are done with the 1A population in our County, we have to reallocate it to other counties with higher populations of 1A residents.
  • Counties are not able to move on to Phase 1B until the entire state is through 1A.  Giving our allocation to other counties allows us to get to 1B faster.

I have had COVID. Am I eligible for the vaccine?

Yes IF you meet the criteria below: 

  • You fall into a specified priority group AND
  • You are not actively ill (meaning in quarantine, isolation, or showing signs of symptoms)

I have had COVID. Is there a waiting period to receive the vaccine?

No – HOWEVER you will need to meet criteria for a specified priority group, not be actively ill (meaning in quarantine, isolation, or showing signs of symptoms),  and check with your physician

Is Public Health the only provider of vaccine in the County?

At this time, yes.  However, you may travel to a another County to receive your vaccination. 

After I get vaccinated, will I still have to wear a mask/be quarantined after COVID exposure?

At this time, there will be no change to our current public health recommendations for those who have been vaccinated. Public Health would still recommend you wear a mask around those not in your household, social distance, and quarantine post-exposure.

When will our children be vaccinated?

At this time, Pfizer is approved for individuals 16 years of age and older. Moderna is approved for those 18 years of age. Unfortunately we do not have a timeline when a vaccine will be approved for children.

Where is the most up to date information on the vaccine?

  • This website (washph.com) 
  •  State of Iowa dashboard (https:\\coronavirus.iowa.gov
  •  WCPH Facebook page 
  • The Washington Journal 
  • KCII radio