Iowa Department of Public Health Covid Vaccine Update

Last updated 01/13/2021

Your health and safety are our top priority. Vaccines are a critical strategy in the response to COVID-19. Getting vaccinated can prevent you from getting the virus. It can also protect those around you from getting infected. Mahaska Health has decades of experience delivering vaccinations safely and efficiently. We’re rigorously reviewing the research to ensure that any vaccines we provide meet our clinical standards.

Mahaska Health is partnering with federal, state and county public health departments on allocation and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Our health care workers and emergency responders have begun receiving the second dose of the vaccine. The first phase of vaccine distribution focuses on frontline health care workers.

We are following the Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines to distribute the vaccine equitably, starting with those at highest risk for COVID-19 exposure. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Infectious Disease Advisory Council (IDAC) provided additional guidance to help further prioritize within the priority groups established by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). We will update you here and by also by email as we get more information about who becomes eligible. You can also sign up for MahaskaAlert email updates here.

As more vaccines are approved and more vaccine doses are manufactured and distributed, the CDC will open access to and prioritization for other population groups, including older adults and people with underlying health risks. We expect production of the vaccine to increase in 2021, when there will eventually be enough supply of the vaccine for everyone who would like to receive it.

Mahaska Health is charged first with vaccinating its employees and looks forward to more information on when the vaccines will become available to the general public. The vaccines are not yet available to the general public. The first limited doses are being given to health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, as required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State of Iowa. Like all Iowa health systems, we are working closely with the CDC and state health departments charged with vaccine distribution in our state. Mahaska Health is following all state and federal recommendations for COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

According to the CDC and the IDPH, it is unknown exactly how long the first phase of vaccine distribution to healthcare workers will last. The next phase to follow will expand to other essential workers and high-risk patients. This means that we do not anticipate the COVID-19 vaccine will be widely available to patients/general public until spring 2021 or later.

We will be monitoring communications from the CDC and the Iowa Department of Public Health. We will provide more information when vaccines are available for wider distribution, including notifying our patients directly. There is no wait list for the vaccine available at this time, please check back regularly for additional information on vaccine appointment scheduling.

Until a vaccine is distributed to the general public (and even for some time after), we must remain vigilant. Please wear your mask, practice social distancing, washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and stay home when you’re sick.

Vaccine Availability & Distribution

The vaccine is being distributed according to federal, state and public health guidelines, health care workers with the highest risk of exposure were identified as the first tier to receive the vaccine. Mahaska Health team members began receiving the first dose of the vaccine in December 2020 and we have already begun administering the second dose of the vaccine. We expect COVID-19 vaccines to be widely available to the general public later in 2021. Eligibility, timelines and processes will depend on the number of available vaccine doses available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State of Iowa.

Mahaska Health is partnering with federal, state and county public health departments on allocation and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Our team members have begun receiving the vaccine using an effective, efficient and fair process.

The first phase of vaccine distribution focuses on frontline health care workers in patient service with the highest risk of exposure.

We will be monitoring communications from the CDC and the Iowa Department of Public Health. As soon as we have more information to proceed, we will partner with public health to contact people who are eligible for the vaccine regarding next steps. We will provide more information when vaccines are available for wider distribution, including notifying our patients directly. There is no wait list for the vaccine available at this time, please check back regularly for additional information on vaccine appointment scheduling. We will update you here and by also by email as we get more information about who becomes eligible. You can also sign up for MahaskaAlert email updates here.

Vaccine eligibility is determined by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) when vaccine supply is limited. ACIP presents their recommendations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Because early supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine are limited, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued recommendations for who should be considered eligible for vaccination first. Based on those recommendations and the number of doses they are allocated, state and county public health departments receive federal guidance to determine a more specific prioritization schedule for their residents. Allocation plans can vary from state to state and the speed at which eligible individuals are vaccinated depends on the number of doses available. Learn more about how the CDC determines the eligibility recommendations for the vaccine:

  • Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), with input from the Infectious Disease Advisory Council (IDAC), will provide more recommendations for who should get vaccine next. This guidance is to help reduce health inequities from geography, poverty, and other social determinants.

Mahaska County Public Health will share information about when vaccine will be given to more groups within the general public once that information is available from federal and state partners.

It is not yet known when the vaccines will be available to the general public. Like all Iowa health systems, we are working closely with the CDC and state health departments charged with vaccine distribution in our state. Mahaska Health is following all state and federal recommendations for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The Iowa Department of Public Health, based on recommendations put forward by the Iowa Diseases Advisory Council (IDAC) has provided due to the current and short term projections for vaccine allocation for Iowa, IDAC recommendations for Phase 1B focus on individuals who are age 75 and over, as well as other high-risk populations. This includes Iowans who are most vulnerable to exposure to COVID-19 or high-risk for illness. We will keep you posted when we are able to begin vaccinating Phase 1B priority populations. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State of Iowa determine who gets the vaccine. The vaccines will be made available in phases. The CDC and the State of Iowa will provide guidance on who will belong to each phase of vaccinations.

For more information on vaccine availability, return to this page regularly. It will be updated as more information becomes available.

You can also visit the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) COVID-19 vaccination information. People who don’t have internet access can get information about the COVID-19 vaccines by calling IDPH at 2-1-1.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State of Iowa determine who gets the vaccine. The vaccines will be made available in phases. People who need the vaccine sooner will be included in earlier phases. The CDC and the State of Iowa will provide guidance on who will belong to each phase of vaccinations. Mahaska Health will continue to update this section with more information on availability once more guidance regarding the phased distribution is available.

As soon as we have more information to proceed, we will partner with public health to contact people who are eligible for the vaccine regarding next steps.

Vaccine Update Email List MahaskaAlert 

COVID-19 Vaccine Information 3

How can I keep myself safe and healthy right now?

The CDC recommends the following:

  • Wash your hands often and correctly or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Practice social distancing
  • Wear a face mask that covers your mouth and nose
  • Stay home if you aren’t feeling well
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Get a flu shot
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, daily