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Governor unhappy with speed of vaccine deployment in Iowa nursing homes

DES MOINES — Governor Kim Reynolds says the pace of Covid-19 vaccinations for Iowa nursing residents and staff is unacceptable.

Under a federal agreement, Walgreens, CVS, and a regional chain called Community Pharmacy were hired to get the shots deployed to Iowa nursing homes. Some nursing home managers say they cannot find out when shots will be administered in their facilities.

“This is a problem that’s happening in states all across the country,” Reynolds said during a forum yesterday sponsored by the Iowa Capitol Press Association. “None of us are happy with the way that this is being executed.”

Reynolds and other governors spoke with executives from the two national pharmacy chains on Thursday. Reynolds told reporters if CVS and Walgreens can’t fulfill the contract on a timely basis, local pharmacies should get the business.

“If they can’t reach a certain threshold, a certain percentage, then that ought to be a trigger for them to pass it to the states,” Reynolds said.

The agreement to have the national pharmacy chains in charge of delivering and administering the Covid vaccines in nursing homes seemed to address concerns about having enough staff to give the shots, Reynolds said.

“But it’s just not being allocated in a manner that we were hoping that it would be,” the governor added.

The first doses of vaccines in nursing homes were given on December 28. However, a dozen days later, it’s still unclear how many of the state’s more than 60,000 nursing home residents and staff have been vaccinated.

The governor told reporters about 60% of the doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that the state has received so far have been given, but there’s no break-down on who’s getting the shots. According to the most recent federal data, Iowa’s Covid-19 vaccination rate is among the highest in the country.

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