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Ask The Answer Person: "How can we learn when and where we can get the (COVID-19) shots?"

Posted: Mon, Jan 4, 2021 11:52 AM

Several readers have been asking questions about the vaccine shots now that medical personnel and nursing home residents in Winneshiek County have been getting the shots.  Here's the latest information from the Winneshiek County Public Health Service, as of Monday:

First of all, just over 500 vaccine shots have been given so far.  That means there are still numerous people within the first priority category who haven't received the vaccine yet—which also means the general public will have to be patient.

Winneshiek County Public Health Director Krista Vanden Brink says there are over 1,000 licensed health care providers in Winneshiek County.  "We knew our first allocation would not be enough" to cover all people in the first priority category, she told county supervisors on Monday.  So between nursing home residents and local health care providers, there's still a good group of people who need to get the vaccine first.

Vanden Brink says members of the general public have been calling the health department asking to be put on the vaccine list.  However, state officials have not yet announced who the next highest priority group will be.  "I don't know what the overall rollout plan will be," says Vanden Brink, pointing out that the decision will be made on the state level, not the local level.  She points out that this was the same system used in 2009 for swine flu vaccinations.  "We have not been told when we will have Phase 1B, nor even what that will look like," she told supervisors.

So what should the public do in the meantime?  Be patient and keep reading the local news— will post a story as soon as a decision is made, but until then, you'll just have to wait!