Iowa’s Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said Wednesday that state health officials will open vaccination clinics at farmers’ markets, sporting events and other areas where Iowans gather in an attempt to boost the state’s immunization rate.
Reynolds said at a press conference that the effort is part of her plan to vaccinate three out of four state residents by June, according to the The Associated Press. The state currently has about 32 percent of its residents vaccinated.
“We’re going to be anywhere and everywhere,” Reynolds said, according to the news service. “We’re taking a look at events that are happening across the state, trying to tie into them. We’re working on that this week.”
Despite her remarks, Reynolds faces an uphill battle to get Iowans vaccinated after reports have surfaced that many counties are letting vaccine supplies go unused.
State health officials said this week that 80 of the state’s 99 counties declined at least part of their allotted COVID-19 vaccine supply for next week, citing an overabundance of vaccines.
“I think part of the problem is the 18 to, probably, 50-year-olds,” Wayne County Health Department administrator Shelley Bickel told Iowa Public Radio. “Those are probably the ones we’re not getting it to like everybody else. They don’t want it.”
Some Iowa officials say that ending the pause on Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine candidate could help persuade on-the-fence Iowans about being vaccinated due to the convenience of the single-dose procedure.
“We are hopeful that lifting the pause of the J&J vaccine will also contribute to more vaccines being administered in the state, especially among individuals who prefer the convenience of a single dose,” a spokesperson for the state health department told Iowa Public Radio.