OTTUMWA — Wapello County announced a new vaccination program for those above the age of 65 to get vaccinated.
Starting with the week of Feb. 1-7, several locations in Wapello County will have a limited supply of the vaccine.
Hy-Vee on North Quincy Avenue, the Eddyville Clinic, the Haas Medical Plaza and the South Side Drug Store are four locations on the list. Residents are asked to choose one provider.
Details on how to register vary based on the location:
— Hy-Vee, 1025 N. Quincy Ave., Ottumwa. Call 641-683-4483 to register, or register online at hy-vee.com/my-pharmacy/covid-vaccine-consent. The vaccine will be distributed Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., Saturday from 9:30 a.m to 3:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
— Eddyville Clinic, 107 N. 3rd St., Eddyville. Call 641-969-5212 to register. Vaccine distributed on Feb. 4 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. only. No cost to patient, bring insurance card and drivers license.
— Haas Medical Plaza, 1013 Pennsylvania Suite D, Ottumwa. Class 641-684-2300, ext. 4661 to register. Vaccine distributed on Feb. 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. only. No cost to patient, bring insurance card and drivers license.
— South Side Drug Store, 337 Church St., Ottumwa. Call 641-682-3467 to register. Vaccine distributed Monday-Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Supplies are scarce and appointments will fill up fast. There will be more opportunities going forward, and details will be released as they become available.
“Stay tuned,” emergency management director Tim Richmond said.
For now, there’s no reason to call public health. Instead, for those over the age of 65, the county will be utilizing several community-based partners around the county. Once those are established, citizens will be directed to work with those partners on setting up appointments based on availability. Officials said they are focused on providing vaccine locations around Wapello County, and not just in Ottumwa.
As residents get vaccinated, they should plan to return to the same location for their booster shot after 28 days.
Nearing 50 days since the first of two COVID-19 vaccines were approved for emergency authorization by the Food and Drug Administration, answers are still limited — particularly on the local level.
Part of the reason for that is supply, but the other is inconsistency in shipments of the vaccine to the individual counties. That inconsistency further challenges the ability for local officials to plan ahead.
“We’ve been pretty much kept in the dark, and there has been no consistency with weekly allocations," said Lynelle Diers, the director of the Wapello County Public Health Department. “There’s been many weeks we have gotten zero [vaccines), and then some weeks we might get 200; it could be 400. There’s just no consistency.”
With at best a few hundred doses coming to Wapello County each week, it’ll take some time before the next phase of vaccinations is completed. That phase includes those 65 and older, as well as those in certain critical workforces.
There are about 1,600 registered health care providers, more than 500 teachers and about 6,500 over the age of 65 in Wapello County, according to recent population and census figures.
As of the most recently available data from Wednesday by the Iowa Department of Public Health, only 161 Wapello County residents have received both shots, or less than a half percent of the county’s population.
The next tiers include those working in congregate settings in food, agriculture, distribution and manufacturing industries; individuals with disabilities living in home settings and their direct care staff; those living and working in congregate settings; hospital, long-term care and child safety inspectors; and correctional facility staff and incarcerated individuals.