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Vaccinations begin in long term care facilities in Iowa

Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 8:24 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - After a long 2020, vaccinations began in long-term care facilities on Monday.

Long-term care facilities made up a disproportional number of deaths related to COVID-19. Positive cases at these facilities make around 2% of cases. However, 30% of deaths in Iowa related to COVID-19 are from those facilities

Vaccinations at long-term care facilities were not delayed after Iowa’s initial shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine will drop by nearly 20%. The state said it will receive 138,300 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by the end of this year. Previously, the state said Iowa would receive 172,000.

Brad Willet, the president and CEO of the Iowa Health Care Association, said vaccinations occurring this quickly and without delay is a huge accomplishment.

“The last 10 months have been agonizingly long for residents and family in Long Term Care,” Willet said. “But in retrospective that we’re vaccinating residents and staff is an incredible historic achievement.”

Willet said it’s likely long-term care facilities will see a durable immunity by the middle of March 2021. Willet said he wished Iowa would receive more vaccines from the federal government but understands the simplicity in allocating doses by population rather than virus activity.

Kimberly Bergen-Jackson, who works at Oaknoll Retirement Residence in Iowa City, said she was so excited to get vaccinated.

“We’re grateful,” Bergen-Jackson said. “Maybe, I’ll get some sleep tonight. I haven’t since March.”

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