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State Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility To Those Under 65 With Underlying Conditions

moderna-tama-county
Natalie Krebs
/
IPR
Vials of the Moderna vaccine sit in a cart at a Tama County vaccine clinic on Feb. 1.

State health officials have extended vaccine eligibility for counties that have completed priority groups.

State health officials have announced that they are expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to include Iowans under 65 who have underlying health conditions, starting Monday.

A statement released by the state Department of Public Health on Thursday evening says the expansion comes as some Iowa counties are reporting to be close to completing vaccinating the current "priority population groups."

Iowa is currently in vaccine Phase 1B, which went into effect last month. It includes Iowans 65 and older as well some essential workers, who are broken into five tiers. They include K-12 school staff, first responders, child care workers, meat processing plant employees, disabled Iowans living in congregate settings, government inspectors and others.

IDPH-Phase1B
Iowa Department of Public Health

The state did not specify what underlying conditions would qualify, but pointed to the CDC's web page on conditions that are known to cause an increased risk of severe COVID-19 and urged Iowans to be patient as demand still exceeds supply.

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced in late February that the state would be expanding vaccine eligibility to Tier 2 this month. This includes workers at large manufacturing and food processing facilities and Iowans with disabilities who live in congregate settings.

Health officials in Polk County this week told reporters that the state's largest county would not be ready to expand into Tier 2 until at least next month, citing the large amount of people included in the Phase 1B and a relatively low supply of vaccine available.

White House officials announced this week they expect there will be enough vaccine for anyone over 16 who wants it by the end of May.

Natalie Krebs is IPR's Health Reporter