Health leaders answer COVID-19 vaccine questions

We are grateful so many people want to be vaccinated and we understand that waiting for the vaccine is extremely difficult right now. Everyone’s opportunity to get vaccinated will come; it will just take some time and patience.
In Humboldt County, we will continue to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) regarding priority groups, vaccination schedule and any additional guidance that may come forward.
As more information becomes available, we promise to keep you informed. Please stay tuned to our sources of communication which include our hospital website, social media, local radio and local newspaper.
Please take a few minutes to read the top questions being asked about the COVID-19 vaccine in Humboldt County. We hope this will provide clear communication and answers to many of the questions out there.
Thank you for your continued to support as we continue to fight through the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Michelle Sleiter, Hospital CEO
Joleen Sernett, Humboldt County Public Health Director

Q: Who can get the vaccine today in Humboldt County?
A: CDC is managing the phasing recommendations for each state and within Iowa. The IDPH provides specific direction for Humboldt County. In Phase 1a, healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents are included. This also includes assisted living facilities as well as individuals providing other healthcare services within our county (examples include pharmacists, dentists, school nurses, clergy, social workers, etc.).

Q: How many doses do we have in Humboldt County?
A: As of today (Jan. 5), we have only received one shipment of 300 Moderna vaccines. A total of 240 doses have been given and we expect to use the remaining doses within the next week.

Q: Why does it take so long to get people vaccinated?
A: Vaccinating any population is a coordinated effort especially with the vulnerability of this new vaccine. The Moderna vaccine comes with 10 doses in a vial. Once the vial is opened, the remaining doses must be given within six hours. As we schedule our vaccination clinics, we must ensure we have 10 individuals scheduled to guarantee no wasted doses of the vaccine.

Q: Why do healthcare workers get vaccinated before the aged, vulnerable populations?
A: Healthcare personnel continue to be on the front line of the nation’s fight against this deadly pandemic. Healthcare personnel’s race and ethnicity, underlying health conditions, occupation type, and job setting can contribute to their risk of acquiring COVID-19 and experiencing severe outcomes, including death.
By providing critical care to those who are or might be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, healthcare personnel have a high risk of being exposed to and getting sick with COVID-19. When healthcare personnel get sick with COVID-19, they are not able to work and provide key services for patients or clients.
As of Dec. 3, 2020, the day CDC published these recommendations, there were more than 249,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 866 deaths among healthcare personnel.

Q: Who is included in the next Phases?
A: As vaccine availability increases, vaccination recommendations will expand to include more populations. CDC has begun making recommendations for Phase 1b and 1c. Once this is finalized and we are provided direction, we will communicate the specifics and the next steps in getting vaccinated.

Q: How are the groups chosen for the phases?
A: Because the supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is expected to be limited at first, CDC is providing recommendations to federal, state, and local governments about who should be vaccinated first. CDC’s recommendations are based on recommendations from the ACIP, an independent panel of medical and public health experts.
The recommendations are made with these goals in mind:
• Decrease death and serious disease as much as possible.
• Preserve functioning of zsociety.
• Reduce the extra burden COVID-19 is having on people already facing disparities.

Q: Will there be enough vaccine for everyone?
A: Currently, two vaccines are authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19 in the United States. It is understandable how concerning this may be for people, especially for those who are at increased risk for serious illness from this virus and for their loved ones.
The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available. That is why, early in the response, the federal government began investing in select vaccine manufacturers to help them increase their ability to quickly make and distribute a large amount of COVID-19 vaccine. This will allow the United States to start with as much vaccine as possible and continually increase the supply in the weeks and months to follow. The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available. Several thousand vaccination providers will be available, including doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers. It is anticipated that everyone will have access to a COVID-19 vaccination by mid-2021.

Q: Can you put me on a waiting list to be notified when I meet the criteria and more vaccine is available?
A: We are not taking waiting lists or notification lists. You also do not need an appointment for this. Please continue to stay tuned to media outlets to stay informed. These outlets include social media, hospital website, local radio, local newspaper and others that become available.
Q: What should I do now to help protect myself from COVID-19 since I don’t quality for it yet?
A: Wear a mask when around others, avoid close contact with people who are sick, stay 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds and wash your hands often.
For more information and updates related to COVID-19, please visit: or
Humboldt County Public Health @HumboldtCountyPublicHealth

Reporting update
On Tuesday, Jan. 5, Humboldt County went over the 1,000 mark in total positive cases since the virus first broke in Humboldt County April 18, 2020.
There were an additional nine cases of COVID-19 in the county reported Tuesday. Of that number, one was a child, ages 0-17; five were adults ages 18-40; one was an adult ages 41-60 and two were adults ages 61-80.
The total positive cases stand at 1,003 with 73 active positive cases. A total of 912 people have recovered from the disease and there have been 18 deaths associated with the disease in the county.
For more information, go the hospital website listed above or go to

Rate this article: 
No votes yet