Monday, April 5, 2021

Today is the day all Iowans 16 and up are eligible for Covid shots

(Radio Iowa) - As of Monday, all Iowans age 16 and above are eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations. Governor Kim Reynolds says getting an appointment may be challenging, but she has repeatedly urged Iowans to get the shot.

"For months, we held onto hope that a vaccine would eventually be available and that it would make it possible to get life back to normal," Reynolds says, "and I think we can all say that time is now."

A Des Moines Register "Iowa Poll" conducted a month ago indicated 27% of Iowans do not intend to get vaccinated. Reynolds used part of news conference last week to make a direct appeal to reluctant Iowans.

"I'm asking you to take the final step in getting life back to normal and if you get a chance, get vaccinated as soon as you are able and take whatever vaccine you're offered," Reynolds said. "Every vaccine is safe and effective."

At 10 p.m. Sunday night, the state website tracking vaccinations showed nearly 663,000 Iowans have completed their vaccinations, either the single-dose Johnson and Johnson or both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Iowa City computer programmer Brian Finley set up a Twitter account to list vaccination appointment times as soon as they become available. Iowa Vaccine Alerts Twiter account is an outgrowth of Finley's own search for appointments when his family became eligible for shots.

"I found a way to write a couple of scripts on my computer that made it a little bit easier and sort of notified me when something came up," Finley says, "and then helping get my family registered and ready to go, I felt like it was something that could help other people and decided to push those alerts out to Twitter."

More than 33,000 people are following Finley's Iowa Vaccine Alerts Twitter account. Some of Finley's Twitter followers are now volunteers helping schedule vaccination appointments for people who lack the time or internet access to get shots lined up.

"Especially as we're trying to work toward herd immunity, shots in arms is what we're really working toward," Finley said.

He says two of the volunteers who're using information from his Iowa Vaccination Alerts Tweets have helped more 500 people sign up for appointments.

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