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Iowa turns down 22,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses as demand wanes



DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa has asked the federal government to withhold more than one-quarter of its allotment of coronavirus vaccines this week because demand for the shots has waned across the state.

The Iowa Department of Public Health said Saturday that the state declined to accept 18,300 of 34,300 doses of Moderna vaccine it was slated to receive this week, and 3,510 of 46,800 doses of Pfizer vaccine.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday that 43 of the state’s 99 counties had declined all or part of their weekly vaccine allocations for the week of April 26.

“Unfortunately, Iowa and states across the nation are seeing a decline in uptake of vaccine since the J&J announcement,” Reynolds said. “As a result, this week 43 counties have declined some or all of their vaccine allocation for next week.”

The following counties denied some or all of their allocation for this week: Adams, Allamakee, Appanoose, Audubon, Buena Vista, Butler, Carroll, Cass, Cedar, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Clay, Clayton, Crawford, Des Moines, Dickinson, Emmet, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Fremont, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Humboldt, Ida, Jackson, Jefferson, Keokuk, Kossuth, Louisa, Lyon, O’Brien, Palo Alto, Sac, Sioux, Taylor, Union, Van Buren, Wapello, Webster, Winnebago and Woodbury.

The governor added it’s disappointing to see the shift, but counties are doing the right thing by denying the allocation. This way, those doses can be sent to communities that need them more.

“But even in large communities, clinics are now filling up over the course of a couple of days rather than just a few hours,” Reynolds said. “So this shift isn’t, again, unique to Iowa. Vaccine hesitancy is beginning to become a real factor across the country.”

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, 25% of adults 18-29 years old are waiting to see if they will get the vaccine. The study also found middle-aged adults are least willing to be vaccinated.

Reynolds’ administration now faces the challenge of addressing vaccine hesitancy. Wednesday, she invited Adjutant Gen. Ben Corell with the Iowa National Guard to share his experience battling the virus.

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