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COVID-19 Update
October 19, 2020
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

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 and can be found under the Industry News tab on the IowaBio website.

Iowa Update
Friday, Governor Reynolds signed a new proclamation continuing the Public Health Disaster Emergency for another 30 days. 
The proclamation extends all the public health mitigation measures currently in place for businesses and other establishments until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 15, 2020. This includes the requirements for bars and restaurants to ensure six feet of physical distance between each group or individual dining or drinking; to ensure all patrons have a seat at a table or bar and consume alcohol or food while seated; and to limit congregating together closer than six feet. Requirements for social distancing, hygiene, and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission also remain in place for gyms, casinos, salons, theaters, and other establishments. 
The proclamation also extends the suspension of weight limits for transportation of agricultural supplies and commodities on state highways for the continued fall harvest.  And it extends many of the previously issued regulatory relief measures necessary to respond to this public health disaster, including those related to healthcare, professional licensure, educational workforce, and expirations of driver’s licenses.  
The proclamation now remains in effect until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 15, 2020. 
The full proclamation is online in its entirety.

The Iowa Department of Public Health on Friday released its draft strategy for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Iowa has made the decision to make the Iowa COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy publicly available. It is not yet public on the IDPH website. This strategy and executive summary have been provided to the CDC as required. The Executive Summary Draft is below.

Executive Summary - DRAFT October 16, 2020

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) developed this COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy in response to requests from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal partners. Iowa’s vaccination strategy lays out the State’s approach to ensuring broad-based coverage of an FDA-approved COVID19 vaccine. Immunization is a critical component to reducing COVID-19-related illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths and to help restore overall societal functioning to pre-pandemic levels.

Introduction The purpose of the Iowa COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy is to assist partners in a shared understanding of pandemic response which includes planning and strategy assumptions, roles and responsibilities, ordering and reporting, and mass vaccination tools to reduce morbidity and mortality from COVID-19. IDPH will use this strategy to describe operational components for the distribution and administration of medical countermeasures such as vaccines.

Summary of Essential Program COVID-19 Vaccination Sections:

Phased Approach to COVID-19 Vaccination Absent precise information regarding initial federal allocation of vaccine to Iowa and concrete knowledge regarding the efficacy of use in certain populations, IDPH will work with Local Public Health Agencies (LPHA) to reach vulnerable populations first, allowing for additional ramp-up as additional supply becomes available. As such, the beginning of the campaign focuses on supporting vaccination providers, including a distribution plan focusing on those who provide services to vulnerable populations. Iowa expects the vaccine supply to increase over the coming months, allowing vaccination efforts to expand to additional tiers of critical populations and ultimately the general public.

Critical Populations The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the National Institutes of Health, and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) are working to determine populations of focus for COVID-19 vaccination and ensure equity in access to COVID-19 vaccination availability across the United States. IDPH intends to follow federal guidance for vaccine prioritization unless needs in Iowa are substantially different. IDPH has provided LPHA with a numerical list of every licensed nurse, EMS provider, physician, physician assistant, respiratory therapist and pharmacist by county in the state for use in determining logistics once priority populations are known. IDPH will update these lists with additional healthcare provider groups, to include a listing of long-term care facilities in the state of Iowa and associated resident and staff numbers. LPHA and healthcare entities will begin using the provided lists of priority critical populations to create the priority subgroup numbers in each county for the identified priority groups once ACIP, CDC and the Iowa Infectious Disease Advisory Council provide guidance. IDPH will provide technical assistance in creating priority subgroups as needed.

COVID-19 Vaccination Provider Recruitment and Enrollment IDPH will utilize the Immunization Registry Information System (IRIS) for the allocation, distribution, and documentation of COVID-19 vaccine. Each county local public health agency must be enrolled in IRIS as part of the allocation and distribution process. All healthcare providers and organizations interested in receiving and administering COVID-19 vaccines are required to complete the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement. IDPH will utilize a REDCap survey to document provider acceptance of the terms to serve as a COVID-19 vaccine provider. The Iowa REDCap COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement will require each vaccination provider to be credentialed/licensed in Iowa.

COVID-19 Vaccine Storage and Handling COVID-19 vaccine products are temperature-sensitive and must be stored and handled correctly to ensure efficacy and maximize shelf life. Proper storage and handling practices are critical to minimize vaccine loss and limit risk of administering COVID-19 vaccine with reduced effectiveness. IDPH will work with each LPHA and each COVID-19 vaccination provider to ensure adherence to vaccine storage and handling procedures.

COVID-19 Vaccination Second-Dose Reminders IDPH anticipates this vaccine will require multiple doses. As such, LPHA, healthcare providers and pharmacies will use client reminder and recall interventions to remind target population members that vaccinations are due (reminders) or late (recall). IRIS includes the ability for healthcare providers to send reminders (letters, postcards) when patients are due for additional doses of vaccine or recall patients to schedule immunization appointments.

COVID-19 Vaccination Program Communication IDPH recognizes appropriate, effective, and timely communication will be critical to a successful COVID-19 vaccination program and therefore developed a thoughtful communication plan. IDPH has already begun—and will continue—to develop and deliver information through virtual meetings and training with LPHA, which include frequently asked questions and other guidance documents. Public messages will focus on the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, if multiple doses are necessary, clear communication will be key.

COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Monitoring The COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement specifies moderate and severe adverse events following COVID-19 vaccination should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) system. As such, all providers and organizations in Iowa completing a COVID-19 Vaccination Provider Agreement and administering vaccine will be required to report adverse COVID-19 vaccine events to VAERS.

Vaccine Program Monitoring IDPH created detailed tracking documents and processes for monitoring the full spectrum of the COVID-19 vaccine campaign. These documents include internal tracking to monitor specific goals, objectives and expectations, and will allow for weekly review for continuous quality improvement.

Additional Information While we await further details and information, IDPH is working proactively to anticipate multiple scenarios with unique considerations. IDPH will update the Iowa vaccination strategy based on additional information provided by CDC and other partners over the implementation period of the campaign. IDPH fully expects to receive near daily updates from internal, external and federal partners over the next weeks and months.

IDPH developed the Iowa COVID-19 vaccine strategy in partnership with stakeholders including: • Iowa Hospital Association • Iowa Medical Society • Iowa Health Care Association • Leading Age Iowa • Iowa Board of Pharmacy • Iowa Pharmacy Association • Iowa Public Health Association • Iowa Academy of Family Physicians (IAFP) • Iowa Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) • Iowa Immunization Coalition • Mercy Hospital-Des Moines • University of Iowa Hospital & Clinics • UnityPoint Health System • Johnson County Public Health • Polk County Public Health • Linn County Public Health • Marion County Public Health • Harrison County Public Health • Iowa Governor’s Office • Shelby County Public Health • HHS • CDC Project Officer-Immunization • Iowa Department of Human Rights • Iowa Osteopathic Medical Association • Iowa Department of Human Services • Department of Corrections • Veterans Home

Key Statistics

Currently, IDPH has reported on the state’s coronavirus dashboard,  107,562 Iowans have tested positive, up 3,219 from our update Friday morning, with a total of 901,734 tested. 16 additional deaths were reported since our last update, bringing the total to 1,532 deaths. Now 82,046 Iowans have recovered. The overall positivity rate is 11.9% and the total 14 day rolling average positivity rate is 9.6%. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here. There are currently 480 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.

Currently 15 counties are above 15 percent positivity rate over the past 14 days:

Harrison 25.5%
Sioux 23.3%
Taylor 19.4%
Plymouth 19.2%
Delaware 19.1%
Carroll 19.0%
Monroe 18.8%
Osceola 18.5%
Emmet 17.4%
Humboldt 16.2%
Crawford 16.0%
Decatur 15.9%
Woodbury 15.4%
Cass 15.3%
O’Brien 15.2%

Total Cases 8,081,489
Total Deaths 218,511

Total Cases 40,076,184
Total Deaths 1,114,391

BIO Pipeline Tracker
754 Unique compounds in development
192 vaccines
201 antivirals
361 treatments

Jessica Hyland, J.D.
Executive Director
Iowa Biotechnology Association
Cell: (515) 822-1315
Office: (515) 327-9156
Fax: (515) 327-1407
Copyright © 2020 Iowa Biotechnology Association, All rights reserved.

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