Update on Dubuque County Phase 1B Vaccinations

The Dubuque County Public Health Incident Management Team has partnered with local healthcare providers authorized to administer COVID-19 vaccinations and is finalizing preparations to operate a community point of distribution, or POD, for Phase 1B Tier 1 vaccinations.

Partners include Crescent Community Health Center, Epic Health and Wellness, Grand River Medical Group, Medical Associates Clinics, MercyOne Dubuque Medical Center, UnityPoint Health Finley Hospital, and multiple pharmacies. These and additional partners will be involved in future phases.

Dubuque County is following guidelines from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) for Phase 1B, which includes all county residents age 65 and specific high-risk populations.  Tier 1 of the high-risk populations includes first responders (e.g., firefighters, police officers, and child welfare social workers) as well as preK-12 school staff and early childhood education and childcare workers.

County residents age 65 and over will be contacted by their healthcare provider when vaccines are available and vaccination appointments can be scheduled.  Healthcare providers will contact their patients through a variety of channels including telephone, text, email, and letter.  Eligible residents are urged to NOT contact their healthcare provider and instead please wait to be contacted by their provider when they can accept appointments.  This will be a phased approach and the timeline will be determined by vaccine availability.  Appointments will be required for all COVID vaccinations.  “Walk-ins” will not be accepted.

“It’s critical that residents understand there are no waiting lists for vaccinations and contacting healthcare providers and public health to request a vaccination only ties up staff from other essential tasks,” said Dubuque County Health Department Executive Director Patrice Lambert.  “Please be patient and watch for that communication from your provider and then schedule an appointment as directed by your provider.”

Other residents eligible in Phase 1B Tier 1 (first responders and preK-12 school staff and early childhood education and childcare workers) will receive vaccination instructions from their employers.

The vaccines remain in short supply which means not everyone in Phase 1B will be able to get the vaccine right away.  It is estimated there are over 18,000 county residents age 65 and over and Dubuque County’s vaccine allocations are averaging less then 1,000 per week.  Continued patience will be required as vaccine allocations from the state continue to vary from week to week.

The other four tiers of high-risk populations designated by IDPH in Phase 1B will be vaccinated in order and with logistical issues factored in, after Tier 1 is completed.

Phase 1B vaccinations could begin as early as next week after the location preparations are completed but the final date will depend on the number of vaccine doses allocated to the county and when they are delivered.

“All the partners are prepared and committed to vaccinating as many people as possible as quickly and safely as possible,” said Lambert.  “Vaccine supplies will dictate the schedule and the site.   In the meantime, we must all continue to social distance, wear masks around others, wash hands frequently, and stay home when ill.”

Additional background on COVID-19 vaccinations is available at www.dubuquecounty.org/COVID19. Residents may also call 563-556-6200 for general information.