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How are Iowa pharmacies handling the vaccine rollout?

With the COVID-19 vaccination out, pharmacists say they've never been busier. While pharmacies are doing the best with what they have, Pottawattamie County Public Health has not had any notification of pharmacies getting their federal allocation.
Posted at 6:21 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 19:21:54-05

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia. (KMTV) - Matt Wyant with Pottawattamie County Public Health admits there has not been a lot of communication about the vaccines from the federal government — and it's impacting the rollout locally.

"I'm not sure where the misstep is on the federal level but we're hearing of other parts of the country who have been able to ramp up vaccine efforts because of the amounts of vaccine they're receiving and we're still just not receiving that here in our area," Wyant said.

There are 11 pharmacies distributing the vaccine in the County. Pharmacies are ready but they are waiting for more vaccines.

"Our communication at the federal level has really seemed to have been cut off. Before, we were getting updates from them on Operation Warp Speed and where that was going," Wyant said. "Here...lately...the local partners have been left out of those conversations."

Wyant is doing what he can to help pharmacies get more doses — but said disclosure on the federal side needs to pick up.

"It's one of those struggles where if you have a list of people going, they start to get antsy," Wyant said.

Sheryl Pfeiler with Union LTC Pharmacy admits the lack of communication can cause confusion.

"I know from the county, I'm reaching out to them and they tell me what they know at the time and it's not always much because they haven't heard further up, so that does get very challenging," Pfeiler said.

Union LTC Pharmacy has been allotted 50 shots a week from the Health Department and hears about getting their shipments the day before. Ultimately, Pfeiler believes there could be a better strategy for the rollout — from the top down.

"If this whole process came from the top-down and people were able to make their appointments, and it told them where to go and it told us who was coming when, having something like that where it wasn't such a strain on every location's staff," Pfeiler said.

Wyant is hoping to hear from the state about how much their allocation will increase coming into March.