Dec. 30, 2020 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Plans for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution in Dubuque County
The United States is in the very early stages of the most complicated vaccination campaign in our nation’s history. The past several weeks have been monumental for our healthcare community as COVID-19 vaccinations have begun.
The Dubuque County Public Health Incident Management Team is currently prioritizing healthcare workers for vaccination based upon risk, frequency, immediacy, and duration of exposure to COVID-19, per the Iowa Department of Public Health Infectious Disease Advisory Committee recommendations. These frontline healthcare providers are receiving the vaccine after fighting the virus and protecting our community for nine long months.
These vaccinations will continue until healthcare workers in Dubuque County’s hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities are vaccinated. The efforts will then be expanded to other health care workers such as, dentists and dental staff, physical and occupational therapists, respiratory therapists etc. Vaccination of residents and staff at long-term care facilities in Dubuque County is expected to begin very soon.
Dubuque County’s healthcare providers serve residents in the entire tri-state area with three hospitals, dozens of clinics, and long-term care centers. This means there are nearly 5,000 healthcare providers to be vaccinated in this first round of vaccinations. Other counties in Iowa may move through the vaccination phases faster than Dubuque County simply because they are smaller and may not have a hospital in the target population to vaccinate.
“We are very encouraged by the interest county residents are expressing in getting vaccinated as soon as possible but we all need to be patient and understand that vaccine supplies and the Iowa Department of Public Health prioritization process will determine the timeline for vaccinations,” said Patrice Lambert, executive director of the Dubuque County Health Department.
Lambert said residents should not be concerned about missing their opportunity to be vaccinated. She said public health as well as local healthcare providers are committed to keeping the public informed as priority groups and vaccination eligibility decisions are made and vaccination locations and schedules are determined. In the meantime, the Dubuque County Public Health Incident Management Team urges residents to continue to wear face coverings in public, wash your hands frequently, avoid unnecessary outings, keep your distance from others and stay home if you do not feel well.
“This process is expected to run through the spring and into the summer so patience and continued vigilance are critical,” said Lambert. “It’s also important that residents NOT overwhelm healthcare providers, pharmacies and public health with calls asking when they can get vaccinated. Vaccination information will be widely disseminated.”
As the supply of COVID-19 vaccines increases, the public will be alerted about target groups and vaccination locations through the Dubuque County Health Department’s website (www.dubuquecounty.org/COVID19), social media, and local media. Vaccination locations will be coordinated by the public health incident management team and are expected to include: your healthcare provider, pharmacies, clinics, and other community locations.
Please visit www.dubuquecounty.org/COVID19 or call the Dubuque Visiting Nurse Association at 563.556.6200 for the most current vaccine information.
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Randy Gehl, Public Information Officer