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COVID-19 Update
January 13, 2021
IowaBio wants to provide our members useful information during the COVID-19 pandemic. This newsletter compiles information on state, federal and industry action to combat the virus and its impacts.

If your company is helping respond to COVID-19, IowaBio wants to know about it. Please, send any information about what your biotechnology company or organization is doing to help, to Jessica Hyland at Jessica@iowabio.org.

If IowaBio can assist you in getting information out, connecting with public officials, or support your company in another way, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Past IowaBio COVID-19 Update newsletters are now available at www.iowabio.org/COVID19 and can be found under the Industry News tab on the IowaBio website.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Yesterday, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) shared the following guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine priority populations for Phase 1B, based on the recommendations put forward by the Iowa Disease Advisory Council (IDAC) and accepted by Kelly Garcia, IDPH interim Director.

IDAC Recommendations

Due to the current and short-term projections for vaccine allocation for Iowa, IDAC recommendations for Phase 1B focus on individuals who are age 75 and over, as well as other high-risk populations. This includes Iowans who are most vulnerable to exposure to COVID-19 or high-risk for illness as the result of a COVID-19 infection, with a significant focus on equity.  Some examples include individuals with disabilities living in home settings, correctional facilities, other congregate settings and meatpacking plant workers.

Acceptance of Recommendations

Garcia accepted IDAC’s recommendations in full, modified with two additions. In addition to IDAC’s recommendations for inclusion in Phase 1B are inspectors responsible for health, life and safety as well as government officials, including staff, to ensure continuity of government, engaged in state business at the Iowa Capitol during the legislative session. Please see the IDAC recommendations and response here.

Tentative Timeframes

It will require approximately 300-400,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to complete Phase 1A statewide. Iowa has, to date, been allocated approximately 226,000 doses. Vaccination of Phase 1B populations will begin no later than the first of February, and will take several weeks to complete. This timeline is subject to change.

In order to assure that we are moving through the Phase 1A schedule swiftly, IDPH is monitoring allocation data and utilization rates as well as through discussions with healthcare providers to identify challenges with administration or uptake.

There will be more details soon on where Phase 1B populations will receive their vaccines. Many of these vaccines will be administered via employer-based clinics. There are also approximately 1,700 enrolled vaccine providers in the state. Many of these providers are pharmacies and clinical offices that are equipped to handle screening and scheduling for vaccination efforts. County health departments may partner with these providers to ensure their residents have access to the vaccine when it becomes available.

In addition, to the above recommendations, IDAC strongly supports that no individual shall be restricted from obtaining vaccine based on residency or citizenship as noted in the memo from the Iowa Department of Public Health Re: Administration of COVID-19 Vaccine – County/State of Residence, dated December 11, 2020. 

https://idph.iowa.gov/Portals/1/userfiles/61/covid19/vaccine/Vaccine%20Memo-Regardless%20of%20Residence.pdf 

As of 1/12/21 IDPH learned from the federal government of significant increased availability of the vaccine based on each state’s ability to distribute supply quickly and number of residents over age 65, or under age 65 with significant health conditions. Once we have reasonable confidence that supply meets the demands of this broader eligibility criteria, we will activate the broader distribution criteria. From the very beginning of this distribution effort, it has been our goal to reach all Iowans.

IDPH continues to urge Iowans that while the vaccine is still a scarce resource, to practice virus mitigation efforts.
  • Wear a mask or face covering
  • Practice social distancing with those outside your household
  • Clean your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Stay home if you feel sick
View the full IDAC recommendations here and vaccine administration data here.

In addition to the press release, yesterday Interim Director of IDPH, Kelly Garcia, and IDPH Emergency Response and Environmental Health Division Administrator Ken Sharp presented to the Iowa House Human Resources Committee on COVID-19 vaccine rollout. The purpose of the presentation was to provide an overview of the State’s vaccine distribution program. 
 
The slides from this presentation are linked here.
 
Sharp and Garcia told the Committee that they will move on to the 1B category for COVID-19 vaccination by February 1st when 60-70% of the 1A category has received the vaccine.  It is believed the 90,000 residents in the skilled nursing facilities will be vaccinated by the end of January.
 
IDAC (Iowa's Infectious Disease Advisory Council) published their recommendations for people eligible for the vaccine under phase 1B. https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus/IDAC. These include:
  • People over 75 OR people vulnerable to high risk of exposure including:          
    • Individuals with disabilities living in home setting who are dependent on attendant care staff and that staff who were not eligible under phase 1A
    • Correctional facility staff and individuals incarcerated in state and county facilities
    • Staff and individuals living in congregate settings not covered by the above, including shelters, sober living homes, behavioral health treatment centers, and detention centers
    • Where public health data indicates outbreaks among food, agriculture, distribution, and manufacturing workers who live in or work in congregate settings that don’t allow for social distancing 
    • PK-12 school staff, early childhood education, and childcare workers, Sub-prioritization should consider people who work with younger and at-risk children to ensure child-wellbeing and mitigate impact to parental workforce
    • First responders including firefighters, police officers, and dependent adult abuse and child welfare social workers
In addition to these people, Director Garcia recommended inspectors of high-risk areas such as meat packing inspectors and nursing home inspectors and government officials be added to the phase 1B list. 
 
The current allocation method starts with the CDC telling the state how many doses of the vaccine it will receive. The state then splits those doses by county proportional to population. The county tells the state where they want their doses delivered and the state informs the CDC where to send the doses of the vaccine. While a vaccine shortage still exists, allocation is split 50% to those over 75 and those with comorbidities and 50% to those in the groups listed above.
 
Key Statistics

Iowa
Currently, IDPH has reported on the state’s coronavirus dashboard, 299,884 Iowans have tested positive, up 1,847 from our update yesterday morning, with a total of 1,405,114 tested. 83 additional death was reported since our last update, bringing the total to 4,222 deaths. Now 260,491 Iowans have recovered. The total 14 day rolling average positivity rate is 14.0% the past 7-day average is 10.4%. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here. There are currently 516 hospitalized patients.

School district statistics including positivity rates by county can be found here. According to guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Education, schools may petition to go to hybrid or online learning with less than 50 percent in-person instruction when the per county percentage positivity rates are above 15 percent in a county on average over the past 14 days (rolling average) AND 10% absenteeism among students is expected for in-person learning. School district waiver requests and whether they are granted or denied are listed here.

Currently 48 (of 99) counties are at or above a 15 percent positivity rate over the past 14 days. Click here to search county data for today.

US
Total Cases 22,522,749
Total Deaths 375,124

World
Total Cases 91,727,510
Total Deaths 1,965,238

BIO Pipeline Tracker
800 Unique compounds in development
196 vaccines
226 antivirals
378 treatments
Sincerely,
Jessica

Jessica Hyland, J.D.
Executive Director
Iowa Biotechnology Association
Cell: (515) 822-1315
Office: (515) 327-9156
Fax: (515) 327-1407
jessica@iowabio.org
www.iowabio.org
Copyright © 2021 Iowa Biotechnology Association, All rights reserved.


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