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Chronically ill Iowans may start seeking COVID shots next week

DES MOINES — State officials say Iowans with chronic medical conditions that put them at risk of getting seriously ill with COVID may become eligible for vaccinations, starting next week.

The decision potentially means hundreds of thousands of Iowans over the age of 16 can start trying to schedule COVID shots next week. The announcement came tonight in an Iowa Department of Public Health news release. The state did not issue a list of chronic conditions that would make an Iowan eligible for a COVID shot, but linked to the Centers for Disease Control website. The CDC’s list of conditions that make a person more likely to get seriously ill from COVID includes diabetes and cancer, plus heart and immune system disorders. Smoking and obesity are also on the CDC’s list.

Iowans over the age of 65 as well as those in certain occupations have been eligible for vaccinations. The Iowa Department of Public Health news release indicates those groups in “several” counties are mostly vaccinated, so those are the counties where expanded eligibility will start. “Some” counties will continue to limit vaccinations to the first tiers of eligible Iowans. The agency did not specify which counties are in which category.

The state’s coronavirus tracking website shows more than 769,000 doses of COVID vaccines have been administered in Iowa. More than 208,000 have had both doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The state received nearly 26,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine this week.

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