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Additional populations eligible for vaccine

Appointments can be booked starting Wednesday

Different segments of Iowa’s population will soon be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

On Monday, Iowa vaccine providers can begin vaccinating additional priority populations, the Iowa Department of Public Healh announced. Individuals 64 years of age and younger with medical conditions that are or may be at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are now eligible.

Those who may be eligible can make an appointment with the Webster County Health Department. These appointments will be made in the same manner that appointments have been made thus far for mass clinics, according to Kelli Bloomquist, public information officer for WCHD.

“While vaccine production is increasing, vaccine allocations to county health departments is still limited,” Bloomquist said. “We continue to ask residents to remain patient and be understanding. It will take time to vaccinate everyone who wants to receive it.”

Every Tuesday, the WCHD announces how many doses it has available. Appointments can be booked for that week starting on Wednesday after 1 p.m.

Bloomquist said WCHD staff will ask basic medical questions when making appointments.

“We will not require medical paperwork to prove that an individual has medical conditions or is high risk,” Bloomquist said. “With that being said, however, it is important that people be patient and allow those that are high risk to make an appointment. If you are healthy and not at high risk, please wait for your tier to open and continue with preventative public health measures.”

Because vaccine production has not fully met the demand for vaccine, Iowans will need to remain patient as vaccine production increases. The White House recently announced that by the end of May, there will be enough vaccine for anyone over the age of 16 who chooses to receive one.

Starting Tuesday, the 211 Call Center will be able to assist Iowans age 65 and older who need assistance scheduling an appointment and don’t have access to the technology to do so.

Health officials say it’s critical to continue practicing the mitigation measures that can slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Vaccinated Iowans should continue these precautions because medical researchers are still learning whether getting a vaccine will prevent somone from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people, even if you don’t get sick yourself.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified the following conditions as being at an increased risk of severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19:

• Cancer

• Chronic kidney disease

• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

• Down syndrome

• Heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies

• Weakened immune system from solid organ transplant

• Obesity

• Severe obesity

• Pregnancy

• Sickle cell disease

• Smoking

• Type 2 diabetes mellitus

To schedule an appointment:

• Have your name, address, date of birth, phone number and any available insurance information ready. Those without insurance will not be turned away. Though the COVID-19 vaccine itself is free, insurance companies will be billed a $16 administrative fee to cover the cost of delivering the vaccine. Medicare insurance covers this fee.

• Call 515-227-7104 or visit https://www.webstercountyia.gov/covid19/index.php to schedule. Calls will not be answered until after 1 p.m. Wednesday.

• If you receive an appointment, arrive at the west side of Crossroads Mall, 217 S. 25th St., at your scheduled time on Saturday. Parking will be available in front of the mall’s west entrance. Overflow parking will be available behind Ja-Mar Drive In.

• There will be a 15 minute wait time after you receive your vaccination.

• Please dress in layers so your arm is accessible.

• Only those receiving a shot will be allowed in the clinic.

• Masks are required for all at the vaccination clinic.

• If you arrive at the mall without an appointment, you will be turned away.

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