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Vaccinations Are Up, But Many Iowans Remain Frustrated

Moderna is one of two major vaccines in use as Iowa continues vaccination efforts.
Paul Sancya/AP
Moderna is one of two major vaccines in use as Iowa continues vaccination efforts.

It’s been almost a year since COVID-19 radically altered life and public health in the United States, and the impact is clear. New research shows that life expectancy in the U.S. dropped by a full year overall between 2019 and 2020, with even steeper decreases in life expectancy for Black and Latino Americans.

The nation is still on the front end of a mass vaccination campaign. In Iowa, roughly 12% of the population has received at least one dose, yet many Iowans are unclear about when they will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, or how to secure an appointment if they already qualify.

On this episode of River to River, a look at the state of vaccine distribution and accessibility in Iowa. Host Ben Kieffer is joined by public health experts, and Iowans who share their experiences searching for and securing vaccine appointments.


  • Natalie Krebs, Iowa Public Radio health reporter
  • Danielle Petit-Majewski, Washington County Public Health Administrator
  • Rosemary Michael, Johnson County
  • Liz Espinoza, North Liberty
  • Susan Lederer, Robert Turell Professor of Medical History and Bioethics and chair of the Department of Medical History and Bioethics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa