Iowa requests fewer vaccine doses from federal government as demand slows

COVID-19 Vaccine

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 23: A bottle of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is seen during a press conference on December 23, 2020 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — The Iowa Department of Public Health has requested about 27% fewer COVID-19 vaccine doses from the federal government for the upcoming week.

Iowa health officials asked the federal government to withhold 21,810 vaccine doses that were set to be shipped for the week of April 26. That includes 18,300 of the 34,300 Moderna doses it had been allocated and 3,510 doses out of 46,800 Pfizer doses. The decision comes as demand for COVID-19 vaccines in Iowa slows down.

“Along with several other states, we are seeing a slowdown of vaccine administration, but we are working with our local partners and community leaders to determine where additional education is needed and to gain an understanding of the needs of each county’s unique population,” said Iowa Department of Public Health spokesperson Sarah Ekstrand.

Gov. Kim Reynolds on Wednesday said 43 of the state’s 99 counties had declined some or all of their vaccine allocation for the upcoming week.

Iowa is not set to receive an allocation of Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses from the federal government next week. U.S. health officials on Friday just lifted an 11-day pause on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccinations after scientific advisers decided its benefits outweigh a rare risk of blood clot.

“We are hopeful that lifting the pause of the J&J vaccine will also contribute to more vaccines being administered in the state in the weeks to come. We want to vaccinate as many Iowans as possible while doing everything we can to avoid vaccines sitting on shelves. The remaining doses from our allocation will be held in Iowa’s reserve for use as needed at a later date,” Ekstrand said.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports 974,735 people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Saturday evening.

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