Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Washington County Public Health announced Tuesday morning that it will begin providing COVID-19 booster shots in September.
For people with compromised immune systems, the boosters will be available starting Sept. 1 at a clinic from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., according to a news release.
“The boosters are for individuals who self-report and feel that they have an immune-compromised health condition,” said Washington County Public Health Interim Administrator Christine Estle. “If you are a healthy individual, the current guidance is that you should not need a booster at this time.”
The news release said Moderna was the only vaccine available at the clinic, meaning those already immunized by other brands of the COVID-19 vaccines would be ineligible for the third shot booster.
Washington County Public Health Clinical Manager Karri Fisher said the decision to start with only Moderna boosters was due to a mix of safety concerns and community-specific needs, as Moderna was the first widely available vaccine in the county.
“We will switch and eventually offer Pfizer as well,” she said. “We want to be very careful with that, that’s a safety concern because they are two very different vaccines with two very different handling profiles … we wanted to get going on the booster for people but also watch out for their safety.”
For immune-compromised people, Fisher said the public health department recommended a third dose as soon as possible after their second, but not less than 28 days later: a time period known as the “minimum interval.”
For everyone else, Fisher said the minimum interval was eight months after the second dose. Per CDC recommendations, Fisher said the county department planned to roll out booster shots for the general public “as soon as possible” after Sept. 20.
Appointments for the booster shots can be set up online. The news release from Washington County Public Health reminded individuals to bring their vaccine cards showing their first and second doses, as well as proof of insurance, although the vaccine still is free.
Washington County Hospitals Director of Foundation & Marketing Amy Vetter said the hospital had already begun providing Moderna boosters through Beans Pharmacy in Washington.
“Appointments are encouraged by calling 319-653-4646, but walk-ins are also welcome,” she said in an email. “A pharmacist will conduct a brief medical review to determine health conditions and to qualify individuals for the booster.”
A manager at Hy-Vee Pharmacy in Washington said they had begun providing boosters to immunocompromised populations.
In Kalona, a manager said One to One Pharmacy planned to provide Pfizer and Moderna boosters as soon as possible after the CDC-approved date for the general public to receive boosters, saying the Sept. 20 date was largely agreed upon but not yet set in stone.
A manager at Pharmacy on 8th in Wellman said they planned to do the same but only had access to Moderna vaccines.