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COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation in Iowa

COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation

The Greater Des Moines Partnership hosted a COVID-19 Vaccine Update this week with experts on distribution efforts. Ken Sharp, division director for acute disease prevention, emergency response and environmental health at the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), addresses the vaccine allocation process and context for limited vaccine management.

Vaccine Allocation

There are 99 county health departments across Iowa, each of these organizations with their own plan for reaching their populations. Sharp explains how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and federal partners look at population-based allocation. He says that the state of Iowa has about 1% of the nation’s population, so each week, Iowa gets 1% of the doses available to states. The CDC sends IDPH a weekly estimate of how many vaccines will be available to the state. Each week, Iowa is receiving, on average, about 60,000-62,000 doses that must be spread out among all counties. Depending on the county’s population, a county might receive anywhere from a few hundred to a couple thousand vaccine doses. The county health departments determine where the vaccines should go in terms of providers. Across the state, there are both public and private vaccine providers — more than 1,800 enrolled — providing the COVID-19 vaccine. From there, the CDC and federal partners directly ship and deliver the vaccines to the providers within 1-3 days.

Federal Programs to Increase COVID-19 Vaccination

Retail Pharmacy Program

Through the Retail Pharmacy Program, 10,000-20,000 other doses are brought into Iowa each week. Partners include 21 national pharmacies and independent pharmacy networks, representing more than 40,000 retail and long-term care pharmacy locations across the nation, including Hy-Vee and CPESN USA, LLC. in Iowa. According to Sharp, each week there are more vaccines coming into the state, meaning pharmacies interested in partnering with the retail Pharmacy Program could be added as partners as supply continues to increase.

See a Retail Pharmacy Program FAQ here.

Vaccine Shortage Order

To understand when the general population may be able to obtain a vaccine, the Vaccine Shortage Order offers insight into eligible populations. Iowa is currently in Phase 1B, vaccinating anyone 65 and older. From there, the state will go through five tiers which have identified vulnerable populations that include high-risk and essential individuals. If you’re not in one of the essential groups, or tiers, IDPH urges you to continue to use mitigation practices until you can be vaccinated.

Learn more about the COVID-19 Vaccine Shortage Order Phase 1B here.

The below video is Ken Sharp’s presentation from the COVID-19 Vaccine Update. Other portions of the webinar were not available for publication post-presentation.


You can count on The Partnership to continue to share accurate and fact-based updates. See more on COVID-19 here.

Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 23 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 400 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.