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Vast Majority of Iowa Counties Are Refusing New COVID Vaccine Doses

In this Wednesday, March 24, 2021 image from video provided by Duke Health, Alejandra Gerardo, 9, looks up to her mom, Dr. Susanna Naggie, as she gets the first of two Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations during a clinical trial for children at Duke Health in Durham, N.C. In the U.S. and abroad, researchers are beginning to test younger and younger kids, to make sure the shots are safe and work for each age. (Shawn Rocco/Duke Health via AP)

Of Iowa’s 99 counties, state health officials say 81 of them accepted -no- new COVID-19 vaccine allotments from the federal government this week. Greene County was among them, where health department director Becky Wolf says about 40-percent of the county’s population is fully vaccinated. Despite targeting groups like those who are homeless and Spanish-speakers, Wolf says that number hasn’t budged for two weeks.

Wolf says, “There’s still people out there that, unfortunately are, are basing their decision to get vaccinated on inaccurate information.” With dropping demand for the vaccine, state health officials say only 12-percent of the state’s allotment was accepted this week, or about eight-thousand doses. Polk County health department spokesperson Nola Aigner (AG-ner)-Davis says county officials have been taking a more targeted approach to try to increase vaccination rates.

“We continue to work really heavily with some of our communities whose English may not be their first language and to address any cultural, medical or religious barriers,” Aigner-Davis says. “We’re doing this a lot in our ethnic-based community organizations.” Only 17 of the state’s 99 counties accepted part of their allocation this week, while just one – Calhoun County – accepted its entire allocation. According to the New York Times, 43 percent of Iowa’s total population is fully vaccinated, ranking 16th in the nation. The state’s coronavirus website shows one-point-three million Iowans are fully vaccinated.

(By Natalie Krebs, Iowa Public Radio)

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