Iowa’s vaccination rate 3rd-lowest in US; 5,000 virus deaths
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa continues to have the third-worst vaccination rate per capita in the nation as the state reached a milestone Thursday of more than 5,000 people killed by the virus.
Speaking at her weekly news conference, Gov. Kim Reynolds said Iowa has been improving its vaccination efforts, which she argued have been slowed in part by lack of available vaccine. That uncertainty has made counties and healthcare providers hesitant to set up appointments, fearing they won’t have the vaccine available and be forced to cancel appointments, she said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 6,315 people per 100,000 in Iowa have received the first vaccine dose. That is worse than all other states except Idaho and Missouri.
States leading in vaccinations have well over 9,000 to 10,000 people per 100,000 given the first dose. They include West Virginia, New Mexico, Connecticut and North Dakota.
Reynolds said her administration is working with county officials and other health care providers to determine barriers to getting vaccine delivered.
Iowa has received 446,825 doses of vaccine and has administered 266,777 doses, or just under 60% of vaccines received, the CDC reported Thursday. The state has the sixth-lowest rate of administered vaccine per capita in the nation.
“We’re averaging about 60% in getting the vaccines administered and that’s not where we need to be,” Reynolds said. “We want to do better. We know we can do better.”
Public health officials on Thursday reported 58 additional deaths, bringing the state total to 5,033 since the beginning of the pandemic nearly a year ago.
Recently updated state data shows 3,997 people died in Iowa in November, the highest single-month death total for the state, according to Iowa Department of Public Health records. The records show nearly 1,500 people infected with coronavirus died during the month.
December deaths so far are recorded at 3,718, making it the second-deadliest month in the state. Public health data shows more than 1,130 people died from a coronavirus related cause.
The IDPH said the data is preliminary and could change as additional death records are registered.
Iowa’s death total last year is the highest single-year total dating back to 1915, the earliest records available. Deaths totaled 35,413, a 15% increase over the 30,669 total deaths reported in 2019.
The current Iowa virus death count is the 16th highest per capita in the U.S. at 157.6 deaths per 100,000 people, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.