MASON CITY, Iowa - Many counties in northern Iowa are declining some or all of their vaccine allotment for next week.
Of Iowa’s 99 counties, 43 have made that decision, and that includes the following counties in northern Iowa: Cerro Gordo, Kossuth, Winnebago, Hancock, Floyd, Chickasaw, Franklin and Butler.
CG Public Health Director Brian Hanft says there's an allotment threshold counties must meet in order to earn the following week's allocation.
"We want to achieve the goal that's put out there for us when receiving vaccines. We would rather take fewer vaccines, and achieve the 80% rule, than take all of the vaccines and not achieve the 80% rule. We're making those decisions based on supply and demand. Right now, there doesn't seem to appear to be a lot of demand."
When a vial is opened up, Hanft says there's about a 6-hour window to administer the full vial. But with low demand, the department is now working to avoid wasting precious vaccines..
"We struggle now to get people in the door to make sure we don't have any wastage. we don't want to waste any vaccines. Unfortunately, I think we're getting to the point that it's going to be likely that we can't always use up a full vial."
Gov. Kim Reynolds said a big reason for the decision stems from the J&J vaccine being pulled.
“This shift isn’t unique to Iowa,” she said. “Vaccine hesitancy is becoming a real factor across the country.”
She said that young- and middle-aged adults are the least likely to be vaccinated.
The doses that counties are declining will be given to more populated areas, Reynolds said
In Iowa, 37% of those 18 and over are fully vaccinated. 53% have had at least one dose of the vaccine.