Virus Outbreak Iowa

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds addresses Iowans during her weekly press conference on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in Johnston, Iowa, where she provided updates on the COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

OTTUMWA — Gov. Kim Reynolds tossed a plan to contract with Microsoft to build a statewide centralized vaccine registry system.

The Republican governor said the system would have complicated vaccine efforts and wouldn't help because county public health departments, pharmacies and other providers have developed their own systems already and it would be difficult to integrate them all into a centralized system.

"It quickly became apparent that integrating the many already-existing registration and scheduling platforms that are used ... it would not be possible in a timely manner without significant disruption to their current systems, and we did not want to slow down the progress that we're making," Reynolds said.

Instead, the state will look to optimize the existing options to make further improvements.

Officials in Wapello County had previously spoken against the proposed centralized vaccine registry. Last week, Wapello County Emergency Management Director Tim Richmond told media that he felt the effort would only make the vaccine rollout more complicated.

Reynolds was criticized statewide for waiting until February, weeks after vaccine distribution had begun, to request proposals to build the system. The request for proposals began two weeks ago. Microsoft was selected to build the registry system but wasn't extended a contract.

Additionally, the state canceled its plans to create a statewide vaccine registration call center.

New state data on Wednesday showed another 624 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported another 43 deaths caused by the virus. The state regularly reports deaths on a delay, taking days and weeks to add deaths publicly after a verification process. To date, there have been 5,306 deaths reported in Iowa.

Appanoose County saw one more death, raising its total to 47. Jefferson County also saw a death reported Wednesday, upping its pandemic toll to 32.

There were 15 new cases in Wapello County reported. There were three new cases in Monroe and one in Davis.

Iowa has now given 477,105 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to residents. As of Wednesday, the state has given one dose of the vaccine to roughly 7.8% of its population. About 4% have received both doses.

Wapello County leads the Courier's coverage area in the percent of its population that has been fully vaccinated. The county ranks 34th in Iowa, with 1,138 receiving both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Another 2,088 have received the first dose.

The number of residents receiving both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in area counties include 482 in Jefferson, 290 in Appanoose, 157 in Davis, 149 in Monroe, and 95 in Van Buren.

The number of Iowans hospitalized with COVID-19 decreased to 235 as of Wednesday morning. There were 52 in an intensive care unit.

Out of Courier area counties, the 14-day positivity rate was highest in Wapello County at 12.2%. It was lowest in Jefferson County at 2.9%.

Reynolds said the state's vaccine allocation from the federal government is expected to increase 24% from this week to next week.

Additionally, Reynolds said the state is expecting the Food and Drug Administration to grant emergency use approval for another COVID-19 vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson by the end of this month.

The difference in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is that it only requires one dose, but it is less effective than the vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, which require two shots but are 95% effective, according to studies.

Studies showed the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had a 66% efficacy in reducing severe and moderate cases of the coronavirus.

Kyle Ocker is the editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.


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Kyle Ocker is a Centerville native and award-winning multimedia journalist. Kyle is currently the president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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