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WATCH: Gov. Kim Reynolds hosts news conference on COVID-19 – KCCI Des Moines

Gov. Kim Reynolds clarified the state’s policy on withholding vaccine doses from counties that lagged behind in getting the doses administered to Iowans.The Iowa Department of Public Health informed five counties last week that it would withhold new allotments of the vaccine. The decision drew criticism from several county health administrators who said either that the state was mistaken or that bad weather had temporarily slowed their progress.“I want to be very clear that that was not meant to be punitive. Instead, it was intended to allow local public health officials a week to administer the remaining supply of vaccine before their next shipment arrived. Each of these counties had several hundred unused doses still on hand and their administration rates ranged from 25% to 53% that previous week, with demand for vaccine far exceeding supply,” Reynolds said. “I want to stress that this change will not disrupt vaccination this week for residents in those counties. They will be administering vaccines.”Reynolds said her team has been monitoring vaccine administration and has reached out to counties to ensure that they reach the 80% threshold and continue to receive their vaccine allocation.Reynolds said Iowa can expect to receive more vaccine doses from the federal government starting next week. “Yesterday on the weekly COVID-19 response call with the White House, we learned that an additional 2.5 million doses of vaccine will be available on top of the 11 million that’s currently being allocated nationally. So that’s a new total of 13.5 million doses that will now be distributed weekly among all states. In Iowa, that means our allocation of 49,900 this week will be almost 62,000 doses next week, which is an increase of 24%,” Reynolds said.Reynolds also said the weekly allocation for the National Pharmacy Program will double to two million doses.The governor said the White House also announced that it expects the FDA to announce its decision regarding emergency authorization for Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine. “While supply will be limited to just a few million doses at the initial rollout, Johnson & Johnson’s goal is to distribute 100 million doses by the end of June,” Reynolds said. Reynolds also said a plan to employ Microsoft to develop an online COVID-19 vaccine scheduling system has been scrapped.“After learning more about the benefits of the breadth of the Microsoft solution, and reviewing the challenges faced by some other states, our various vaccine partners, we have made the determination not to move forward with the contract,” Reynolds said. “So, we’re now shifting our focus from building a different system to optimize the overall registration and scheduling process for Iowans.”Reynolds said the state is actively determining how to leverage existing partnerships to provide an easier alternative to online scheduling.Look for more information released during the governor’s news conference later today on KCCI 8 News and the KCCI Breaking News and Weather App.

Gov. Kim Reynolds clarified the state’s policy on withholding vaccine doses from counties that lagged behind in getting the doses administered to Iowans.

The Iowa Department of Public Health informed five counties last week that it would withhold new allotments of the vaccine. The decision drew criticism from several county health administrators who said either that the state was mistaken or that bad weather had temporarily slowed their progress.

“I want to be very clear that that was not meant to be punitive. Instead, it was intended to allow local public health officials a week to administer the remaining supply of vaccine before their next shipment arrived. Each of these counties had several hundred unused doses still on hand and their administration rates ranged from 25% to 53% that previous week, with demand for vaccine far exceeding supply,” Reynolds said. “I want to stress that this change will not disrupt vaccination this week for residents in those counties. They will be administering vaccines.”

Reynolds said her team has been monitoring vaccine administration and has reached out to counties to ensure that they reach the 80% threshold and continue to receive their vaccine allocation.

Reynolds said Iowa can expect to receive more vaccine doses from the federal government starting next week.

“Yesterday on the weekly COVID-19 response call with the White House, we learned that an additional 2.5 million doses of vaccine will be available on top of the 11 million that’s currently being allocated nationally. So that’s a new total of 13.5 million doses that will now be distributed weekly among all states. In Iowa, that means our allocation of 49,900 this week will be almost 62,000 doses next week, which is an increase of 24%,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds also said the weekly allocation for the National Pharmacy Program will double to two million doses.

The governor said the White House also announced that it expects the FDA to announce its decision regarding emergency authorization for Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine.

“While supply will be limited to just a few million doses at the initial rollout, Johnson & Johnson’s goal is to distribute 100 million doses by the end of June,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds also said a plan to employ Microsoft to develop an online COVID-19 vaccine scheduling system has been scrapped.

“After learning more about the benefits of the breadth of the Microsoft solution, and reviewing the challenges faced by some other states, our various vaccine partners, we have made the determination not to move forward with the contract,” Reynolds said. “So, we’re now shifting our focus from building a different system to optimize the overall registration and scheduling process for Iowans.”

Reynolds said the state is actively determining how to leverage existing partnerships to provide an easier alternative to online scheduling.

Look for more information released during the governor’s news conference later today on KCCI 8 News and the KCCI Breaking News and Weather App.

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