COVID vaccines for young children arrive in Iowa this week
COVID-19 vaccine doses for infants and toddlers are due to arrive in Iowa this week after federal regulators approved their use last weekend, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Children older than 6 months and younger than 5 years are now eligible for the vaccines.
About 23,500 vaccine doses for those children will soon be available in Iowa, said Sarah Ekstrand, an IDPH spokesperson. There are about 200,000 children younger than 5 in the state, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
The vaccines require two or three doses to be effective, depending on their manufacturer. Ekstrand said parents should seek the vaccines from their children’s health care providers.
About 62% of all Iowans have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. A little more than half of those have received booster doses.
“Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against COVID-19,” Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director, said in a press release Saturday when the children’s vaccines were approved. “We know millions of parents and caregivers are eager to get their young children vaccinated, and with today’s decision, they can.”
Iowa infection rate inches down
The number of new weekly coronavirus infections in Iowa declined slightly over the past week, along with hospitalizations.
IDPH reported on Wednesday that there were 3,919 new infections reported to the state for the past week — or about 560 per day — a decline of nearly 2% from the week prior. The number of weekly infections has been hovering near the 4,000 mark for more than a month.
Those do not include at-home rapid tests, which the state does not track.
There were 184 infected people receiving in-patient hospital treatment on Wednesday, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, down from 186 a week ago. Of those, 17 were under intensive care, compared with 25 last week.
IDPH also reported 65 new deaths of infected people. Ekstrand said the spike in reported deaths is due to backlog of reports from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, which updated its coding system over the course of two weeks this month.
A total of 9,680 people have died in Iowa after contracting the virus.
Johnson and Winneshiek counties have the highest threats for infection in the state, according to a CDC report late last week. They are the only counties in Iowa in which the threats are “high.”
The CDC ranks those threats of infection on a low-to-high scale based on per-capita infection and hospitalization rates. Counties with medium infection threats include: Benton, Cedar, Dubuque, Howard, Humboldt, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Jones, Linn, Louisa, Lucas, Pocahontas, Washington and Webster.