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Centralized scheduling for COVID vaccinations in Iowa in two weeks

DES MOINES — The state has selected Microsoft to develop a website for Iowans statewide to schedule vaccinations and Governor Reynolds says it should be up and running in two weeks.

“The biggest problem of all of this has been the amount of vaccine that we receive,” Reynolds said Wednesday during a news conference. “…I don’t care what kind of system you had in place. That’s just not enough vaccines to really do what we needed to do.”

Reynolds described the central website for scheduling COVID shots as a “front door” for Iowans. A call center for Iowans who don’t use the internet is still under development.

“We’re going to continue to look for ways that we can streamline it, make it more efficient,” Reynolds said, “where we can help counties that need it, where we can set up mass clinics.”

State officials are evaluating which counties are not able to dispense at least 80 percent of their weekly allocation of vaccine doses. Starting next week, any county that cannot meet that threshold will see their share of doses sent to another county.

“We’ve tried to take the infrastructure that we have and make that available,” Reynolds said, “and some of the problem is, really, a lot of our systems are just so antiquated and they’re siloed and they’re not operating in the capacity that we need them to do.”

Federal officials are increasing each state’s allotment by 5%. Reynolds said that means about 49,000 total doses will be delivered to Iowa next week.

“As we have more vaccines become available, as we have more providers be a part of the mix, we need to continue to look for ways that we can streamline it,” Reynolds said, “and so that’s what we’re doing.”

In addition, the governor said Walgreens has agreed to schedule appointments for 10,000 unused doses for Iowans yet this week.

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