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Southeast Iowa Vaccine Distributors see sharp decline in demand for COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 9:56 PM CDT
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Southeast Iowa (KYOU) - Vaccines haven’t been opened up for a full month yet, but demand has already heavily dropped.

Iowa’s Coronavirus database shows just how steep that decline is. Monday’s vaccine total of 13,113, the lowest since late January.

Locally, the situation is the same. Wapello County Public Health was giving out 40 “prime” shots a day - the first vaccine in a series - only a few weeks ago. This week? Only 10. Director Lynelle Diers isolates the decline to one group in particular: “20-40 year olds are not seeking the vaccine whatsoever.”

Ottumwa pharmacies, like Hy-Vee, are seeing the same decline. The result is a vaccination rate that is beginning to plateau.

And Diers worries people who are unvaccinated will still get COVID. “The virus is still here. And it’s infecting people who are not vaccinated.”

Wapello County Public Health is even cutting back their vaccination days to only Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Public Health and pharmacies in other local counties are facing a decline as well.

Like Wells Pharmacy in Bloomfield. Owner Milo Wells attributes the decline to hesitation after blood clots were a rare side effect of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. “I think all the people who were on the fence at that point, that pretty much swayed them to not get the vaccine.”

Wapello County Public Health is continuing to post on social media about the benefits of the vaccine, hoping to get more people vaccinated, but Diers says, at this rate, herd immunity could be a ways off. Diers says that “could be a year out. At this rate. Because we’ve seen such a sharp decline.”

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