MASON CITY — Over 75-percent of the COVID-19 vaccine available in Cerro Gordo County has been distributed to frontline healthcare workers.
Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health executive director Brian Hanft says the county has received 1700 doses which were presented to MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center. “They have been working diligently to get their frontline staff administered for obvious reasons. Of the 1700 doses that have come into this county, there might be a small handful of remaining doses that still are slotted to be administered that will be in people’s arms by probably Friday afternoon.”
Hanft says the rollout of the vaccine has been slower than expected. “I think the best way to describe it is slow. It was anticipated that it would be slow, and I think on a national level the rollout has been slower than maybe what we had hoped for. It is what it is, we can only distribute vaccine as it becomes available to us, so we just take each week in stride.”
Hanft says with only a limited number of vaccinations available, they currently can only administer it to healthcare professionals. He’s asking the public to be patient as a notification will go out when broader segments of the public can get the vaccine . Until we receive notification from the Iowa Department of Public Health that that group has been broadened to include essential workers, that essential workers definition is confined within this 1-B group, and we’re not allowed to administer to those groups. We’re getting a lot of phone calls from the general public wondering when they can get the vaccine. I want to reassure people we will let you know when you can get it. For now we just need people to stop calling our office, because we’re really inundated with a lot of phone calls right now, so just sit tight.”
Hanft says it could be the middle of this year before the general public gets the vaccine. “I don’t have any sense of speculation other than to say I don’t think we’ll be doing general public vaccinations until well into the summer months.”
Hanft made his comments during a Cerro Gordo County and City of Mason City press conference that you heard yesterday on AM-1490 & 96.7-FM KRIB, which you can watch below.