Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Washington and Jefferson County public health departments have announced they will soon end their first-dose COVID-19 vaccine clinics due to decreasing demand for the vaccine.
Washington County Public Health Administrator Danielle Pettit-Majewski said her department’s last first-dose clinic was Thursday, though it will finish the Moderna boost clinics already scheduled through May for those who received their prime dose from the public health department.
Jefferson County Public Health Administrator Chris Estle announced her office would end first-dose vaccine clinics on May 8. It will hold a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Friday, May 7, which unlike the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, requires only one dose.
Members of the Henry County Public Health Department were busy holding a clinic Thursday and could not be reached for comment.
In announcing the end of their first-dose vaccine clinics, both Jefferson and Washington public health departments cited a sharp decline in vaccine demand during the past two to three weeks. Pettit-Majewski said her office scheduled a vaccine clinic for Thursday, and as of that morning, only 20 people had signed up when the department was hoping for 140.
“There is not much justification to use our staff time to meet demand that is not there,” Pettit-Majewski said.
Pettit-Majewski and Estle said there are still plenty of other places in the community to get a vaccine beside the local public health department. Local pharmacies continue to receive an allotment of vaccines from the federal government.
“This is just like the flu shot in that we just want people to get it. We don’t care if you get it from us,” Pettit-Majewski said.
Both Pettit-Majewski and Estle stressed that their counties have more work to do in getting their populations vaccinated. Fully vaccinated rates for the area are Washington County 31 percent; Jefferson County 27 percent; and Henry County 26 percent.
Pettit-Majewski said herd immunity won’t be reached until the percentage of vaccinated people is 70-85 percent.
“It’s still important for people to get vaccinated,” Pettit-Majewski said. “The best way to prevent the spread of COVID, stop the mutations and stop the outbreaks is to get vaccinated.”
Estle echoed that sentiment.
“I am asking all individuals that have not yet received COVID vaccine to get vaccinated, as soon as possible,” Estle said. “We all want our lives to ‘be back to normal.’ Our lives are forever changed by this pandemic. The health of the public, depends on the action of the public.”