Iowa slides lower in national COVID-19 vaccination rate; less than 50% of state fully vaccinated

COVID-19 Vaccine

Gov. Kim Reynolds gets the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine during a news conference March 3, 2021. (WHO 13)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Demand for vaccines in Iowa has dropped dramatically in recent weeks with the state ordering fewer doses each week and sliding downward in its national ranking of fully vaccinated people.

Iowa ordered 2,450 doses for this week with 16 out of Iowa’s 99 counties ordering doses, Iowa Department of Public Health spokeswoman Sarah Ekstrand said. Last week the state ordered 5,210 doses and the week before 7,850 doses.

State public health officials have decided to no longer automatically allocate doses to every county each week and instead will survey the counties and determine the need for each week and order only that amount, Ekstrand said.

State data shows a significant decline in the number of doses administered per day since Mid-April when an average of nearly 31,000 doses a day were being administered in Iowa. That has fallen to an average of less than 7,000 doses a day in the past week.

Iowa has been slipping in its ranking among states for the percentage of the population fully vaccinated. Iowa ranks 21st in the nation with 1.4 million people, or 44.9% fully vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Two weeks ago Iowa was 17th.

The state has been dealing with significant vaccine resistance in recent weeks but Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has said she has no plans to implement an incentive program to encourage vaccination as some states have done to boost interest. She said vaccine is available for anyone who wants it.

Some states have offered prizes such as lottery tickets as an enticement.

In April, Reynolds set a goal of reaching 75% of Iowa adults vaccinated by the end of June. As of Tuesday 52.9% of Iowans age 18 and older have been fully vaccinated and 62.3% have had at least one dose.

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