Cerro Gordo County health director says supply of vaccine will be key in getting everybody vaccinated (VIDEO)
MASON CITY — Despite Governor Reynolds’ announcement Wednesday that all Iowans will be eligible for vaccinations starting April 5th, the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health director says he does not anticipate many changes compared to what’s currently happening in the county.
Brian Hanft says under the current guidelines, most of the public is already eligible to be vaccinated. “We’re providing vaccine right now to those 64 and younger who have underlying health conditions, which includes a certain body mass index and that sort of thing. That was a pretty liberal allowance for people to be able to come in and get vaccinated. This will just open it up, it might make things easier for us. Quite honestly, we just received that information (Wednesday), so we really haven’t had time to digest it.”
Hanft says no matter who is eligible for being vaccinated, supply of the vaccine is the big key in the process. “There’s going to have to be an increase in the availability of vaccines, and it needs to be a consistent supply. We’ve received some Pfizer vaccine, and then we didn’t receive Pfizer, and this week we found out for next week we only have Moderna vaccine, which is 800 doses. It’s a fair number, but if we’re going to make a real dent in the countywide numbers that we need to achieve, and we’re a regional hub, so if we’re going to have a long-term impact, we’ve got to have significant increases in the availability of vaccine.”
Hanft says when the supply ramps up, the county is prepared to distribute the larger amounts of vaccine to the public. “We have the capacity to push well over 1,000 people through our site. That’s running in the ballpark of six hours of doing vaccine. A lot of people have been through our clinic and have been extremely pleased with how that process goes for them. We can increase the number of providers, being nurses or doctors, who are administering the vaccine, and I think our system is set up where we really could increase the number of days and even push more people through that facility.”
Hanft says he anticipates that when vaccinations open to the rest of the public on April 5th that they will still have to take appointments for their clinic in the former Sears store on the city’s south side.
Hanft made his comments during the weekly City of Mason City/Cerro Gordo County COVID-19 press conference that you heard Wednesday afternoon on AM-1300 KGLO. If you missed the press conference, you can watch it below.