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UIHC Joins Nationwide COVID-19 Vaccine Campaign As Demand For The Shot Decreases

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics received its first shipment of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccines on Dec. 14.
The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has joined a COVID-19 vaccination campaign with 60 other health care providers to encourage people to get vaccinated.

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has joined a national campaign with 60 health care providers to promote the COVID-19 vaccine, as state data indicates demand for the vaccine is decreasing.

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has announced it is joining with 60 of the nation’s top health care providers to encourage more Iowans to get the COVID-19 vaccine, as demand for the vaccine starts to decline.

The nationwide campaign is called "Get the Vaccine to Save Lives." It includes high-profile clinics like the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic and will use print and digital advertising, social media and an informational website to encourage people to get vaccinated.

The campaign will specifically target groups that have higher hesitancy rates for getting vaccinated, like certain ethnic minority groups and those living in rural areas.

Mike Brownlee, the chief pharmacy officer for the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, said demand is decreasing because the vaccine is now available to populations who are at low risk for getting seriously ill from the virus.

"We're trying to help them see the more broad view, how this can not just help them, their patients, their families, but everyone in the community," he said, "and the more vaccine that we have in the community, the more slows the spread, it can help everyone."

Brownlee said the hospital also is looking at new ways to reach out to its patients about the vaccine.

"One of the things we're trying to do is incorporate vaccination into our clinic visits. So when you come to have a checkup visit, ‘Hey, have you thought about the vaccine, if you haven't had it yet?'" he said.

Brownlee said the goal of the campaign is to get 75 percent of the population vaccinated to reach the level of herd immunity.

UIHC's announcement comes as state health officials have confirmed they did not accept 3,510 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 18,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine from their federal allotment this week due to declining demand.

"We are working with our local partners and community leaders to determine where additional education is needed and to gain an understanding of the needs of each county's unique population," Sarah Ekstrand, the IDPH spokesperson, said in an email.

Gov. Kim Reynolds pushed all eligible Iowans to get vaccinated last week, following news from state health officials that 43 counties declined all or part of their weekly allocation so that supply wouldn't exceed demand.

Reynolds said the state is pushing groups like college students to get vaccinated before the end of the spring semester, as young people have some of the highest vaccine hesitancy rates.

Recent polling has found vaccine hesitancy rates are declining overall, particularly among minorities like the Black community, which expressed high rates of hesitancy in polling last fall.

Polls have found the groups most likely to turn down the vaccine identify as Republicans and white evangelical Christians.

According to state data, more than 40 percent of adult Iowans are fully vaccinated, and more than 55 percent have had at least one dose.

Natalie Krebs is IPR's Health Reporter