MASON CITY, Iowa - The COVID-19 vaccine is now in North Iowa, and vaccinations are expected to start this week.
MercyOne North Iowa announced Monday it has received its first shipment of 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
"It’s a great day at MercyOne," stated Rod Schlader, president, MercyOne North Iowa. "We received our first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. We plan to start vaccinating our colleagues, who are at highest risk this week. Watch for more updates on our social media channels. Our colleagues are anxious to share their experiences, so you'll know what to expect when the vaccine is available to you. Let's take this step toward defeating this pandemic together and move closer to getting our lives back to normal."
Schlader predicts that 300-400 vaccines could be issued per day.
"We're treating our colleagues as if they were patients, for confidentiality reasons. We figured out how to use our technology to register them and schedule them online. We don't have a big paper shuffle going on here. Really, we want to move as fast as we can in order to get as many people vaccinated as fast as we can."
As the vaccine has an impact, Schlader predicts that visitor restrictions at the hospital in Mason City could be loosened, possibly as soon as this spring.
"We've been monitoring this occurrence per 100,000 for our visitor restrictions. This week, we're at 300 per 100,000, and has been as high as 900 per 100,000 when we were really surging. Our policy right now is if that gets below 100, we can relax our visitor restrictions. We've learned a lot since then, too. We may look at that again if we start hovering around 200-150, we may make some changes."