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Second vaccine phase priorities announced

As health care workers across Iowa receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the Iowa Department of Public Health announced which groups of people will be eligible to receive a vaccine in the next phase of distribution.

Henry County Public Health shared the information Wednesday and said Phase 1B of vaccine distribution is set to begin around Feb. 1 and should take several weeks to complete, but this timeline might change. A timeline for the rest of the population to get vaccinated has not been announced.

People who are over 75 years old will be eligible to receive the vaccine in phase 1B, as well as people “vulnerable to high risk of exposure or severity of illness,” including:

• People with disabilities dependent on attendant care staff and their attendant care staff.

• Correctional facility staff and incarcerated people.

• People working at or living in congregate settings not yet mentioned, including shelters, sober living homes, behavioral health treatment centers and detention centers. College dormitories are excluded.

• Where public health data indicates outbreaks or clusters of disease among food, agriculture, distribution and manufacturing workers whom work in or live in congregate settings that do not allow for social distancing. For example, working in a meatpacking or manufacturing production line or migrant workers whom live in bunkroom style housing.

• School staff, early childhood education, and child care workers.

• First responders.

• Inspectors responsible for health, life and safety, including those in hospital and long-term care settings, child and food production safety.

•G overnment officials, including staff.

The vaccine is just one method of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Henry County Public Health urges people to wear masks, social distance, wash their hands often and stay home if feeling ill.