As demand for vaccines wanes, Iowa is pushing to scoop up the wary and those who haven’t had an opportunity to get vaccinated before now.
In a Wednesday press conference, Gov. Kim Reynolds said the state is working with local health departments to host pop-up clinics at events like baseball games and farmers’ markets to catch Iowans who are out-and-about this summer.
“We’re moving from mass vaccination clinics serving thousands to more targeted clinics designed to reach smaller, more specific groups,” she said.
At the opening game of the Iowa Cubs season yesterday, a Hy-Vee bus was parked outside the gate of Principal Park to vaccinate fans.
Randy Wehofer, the vice president and assistant general manager of the team, said fans had the choice between the Pfizer vaccine, which is administered in two doses, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which only requires one dose.
“We want to get back to those big Friday nights with fireworks, and Fourth of Julys and the joy and the memories that those create,” Wehofer said. “The best way to do that is to get people vaccinated.”
He said the pop-up clinic at the games makes it easy for fans to duck in, get their vaccine and go on to enjoy the baseball.
Reynolds said the Des Moines Farmer’s Market will also have a Hy-Vee bus on Court Ave this Saturday, so attendees have an easy way to receive their vaccines. Staff will also be available to answer questions about the vaccine and to schedule appointments if Saturday doesn’t work.
Any groups interested in hosting pop-up vaccine clinics can reach out to their local public health departments for arrangements. And soon, Iowans will be able to see a schedule for pop-up clinics at vaccinateiowa.gov.
As of Sunday, Reynolds said about 66,500 Iowans have gotten their first dose of the vaccine, and many are eligible for their second dose. She said under 40% are past due.
“I think the message we want to relay here is that even if you’re overdue for your second dose, don’t worry about that. It’s really more important that you get it late than not get it at all,” she said.
Next week, the state will begin running a vaccine awareness campaign in both English and Spanish to reach more Iowans. The campaign will run statewide on TV, radio and the internet.
“We’ve continued to conduct focused outreach to community organizations and churches serving minority populations, which has helped ensure vaccine access and equity,” Reynolds said.
Demand for the vaccine is waning in the state—and nationwide—but many Iowans remain unvaccinated. Reynolds said the state is working to find out why, and she hopes the PSA and educational round-tables with communities will help drive home the importance of the vaccine.
“Iowans, for the population that’s left, a lot of them want to return back to normal but there have to be some incentives for getting the vaccine to actually make that happen,” she said.
by Nikoel Hytrek