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Iowa reports more than 25,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered so far

Nick Coltrain
Des Moines Register

Iowa appears to have received 16,000 fewer doses than expected of COVID-19 vaccine, even as the state looks to be ahead of the nation as a whole in how much of its supply it has administered.

About 30% of the doses Iowa has received, or 25,000, have been administered so far, according to Pat Garrett, Gov. Kim Reynolds' spokesperson. He contrasted that to a national administration rate of about 18.5%.

However, that would mean Iowa has received about 83,300 doses — short of the 99,300 state officials said they expected to have by the end of last week.

The data for vaccinations is as of Monday, the day residents and staff at Iowa nursing homes started receiving vaccinations.

Asked about the discrepancy, Garrett wrote that officials had said the expected number of doses would fluctuate.

State officials already had announced in mid-December that Iowa would receive about 20% fewer doses than they expected at the beginning of the month, for a total expected allotment of 138,300 doses. That represented a decrease of about 34,000 doses compared to initial expectations of 172,000.

More:Iowa nursing home officials worry COVID-19 vaccine shortfall will delay precious shots for their residents

Garrett deferred to the Iowa Department of Public Health for specific allocation numbers and projections. IDPH spokesperson Sarah Ekstrand did not respond to requests for comment.

State officials are meanwhile working to add vaccination data to their coronavirus.Iowa.gov website. Garrett wrote that the added information should debut in coming days, but did not offer a specific date.

Iowa began vaccinating health care workers on Dec. 14 and added nursing home residents and staff about two weeks later. Despite being less than 1% of the state's population, nursing home residents, who are among the frailest Iowans, account for about 30% of the more than 3,800 people statewide who have died from COVID-19.

An advisory council is working on guidance for which groups of people to prioritize next for the vaccinations.

More:'Feels like a beginning to the end': First coronavirus vaccinations begin in Iowa

Iowa has received allotments of vaccine from both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Each requires two doses, taken weeks apart, to reach full efficacy. Once fully administered, the vaccines should be about 90% effective.

As of Wednesday afternoon, IDPH reported more than 600 Iowans hospitalized with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. It's a small uptick after a steady decline in hospitalizations from a peak amid a brutal surge of the virus across the state in November. On Christmas Day, IDPH reported 558 Iowans hospitalized with COVID-19, down from more than 1,500 in mid-November.

Almost 279,000 Iowans have tested positive for coronavirus since it reached the state in March. Of those, IDPH reports 236,656 have recovered.

Nick Coltrain is a politics and data reporter for the Register. Reach him at ncoltrain@registermedia.com or at 515-284-8361.