OTTUMWA — The Wapello County Public Health Department continues its COVID-19 vaccinations of Phase 1A priority populations.

In the department's weekly update Monday, the county said it is currently vaccinating health care personnel and long-term care residents and staff.

As more vaccines become available, Iowa's Infectious Disease Advisory Council (IDAC) will continue to review guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to further prioritize populations to receive the vaccine in the state.

IDAC is currently reviewing ACIP's recommendations's for Phase 1B and 1C priority populations. Phase 1B includes persons 75 or older and frontline essential workers, while Phase 1C includes persons 65-74, people 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions, and other essential workers.

The department said in an earlier Facebook post that it won't move onto Phase 1B until 1A is fully completed with two doses.

"Wapello County health is working with facilities in our county to vaccine the Phase 1A priority populations, and will continue to provide updates for other priority populations as we receive additional allocations of vaccines," said Wapello County Public Health Director Lynelle Diers. "While right now, the vaccines is being made available to the priority populations, it is anticipated that by mid-2021, there should be enough vaccine for anyone who wants to receive it."

The public health department is also looking for volunteers in the community clinics to aid with intake, organize vaccine recipients and seeks any licensed personnel to administer vaccine.

Those who are interested can complete the volunteer form on the public health website, send the form to Wapello County Public Health at 108 E. Main St., Ottumwa, IA 52501, or email the form to wcph@wapellocounty.org.

For more information about volunteering, residents may also call 641-682-5434.

Rollout of the vaccines has been slowed, primarily because several states did not receive their anticipated quantities. As of Monday morning, just under half of Iowa residents (55,495) have received their first dose of vaccine; 116,275 doses have been distributed.

As a whole, about 30 percent of the doses distributed have been given.

Until a vaccine is widely available, residents are encouraged to continue the following guidelines:

• Wearing a mask for face covering

• Practice social distancing with those outside your household

• Clean your hands frequently with soap and water

• Stay home if you feel sick

For local information and updated related to COVID-19, visit www.wapelloready.org, and following Wapello County Public Health and Wapello County Emergency Management on Facebook.

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