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Community Pharmacies Part of Vaccination Push in IA

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Friday, May 7, 2021   

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Amid lagging demand, Iowa officials are encouraging anyone who's eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination. Community pharmacies hope their connection with local residents will convince those on the fence to sign up.

This week, Gov. Kim Reynolds said the state has had to reduce requests for vaccine shipments as more counties decline them.

Lindsey Ludwig, executive director of the Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network, which works with independent pharmacies and smaller chains, said the slower pace isn't only because some people refuse to get a vaccination.

"Say, county road workers, they're working a ton of overtime right now, and they just don't have the time to find a place to get vaccinated," Ludwig explained. "Or, they don't have the time to be off work if they do, you know, have a day of side effects."

She added some farmers, busy with spring planting, might want to get a vaccination but can't right now.

For those who want more assurance about vaccine safety, Ludwig said local pharmacists and providers have accurate information. A number of locations in her group's network are expanding vaccination clinic hours to meet more flexible scheduling needs.

State health officials are no longer advising those who had their first shot to go back to the same location for the second one. They're free to take their vaccination card to any pharmacy or provider.

Ludwig hopes moves like this will boost demand, like the state saw earlier this year.

"We know it works, and we just need to improve the confidence level for those that might not be ready yet to receive the vaccine," Ludwig urged.

The network has more than 120 pharmacies in Iowa providing shots.

Meanwhile, groups like AARP Iowa said getting vaccinated is still a crucial step to protect vulnerable populations, such as people over age 50.

Iowans who don't have access to or don't use a computer can call 211 and work with a vaccine navigator to schedule an appointment.


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