BREAKING NEWS: More residents of Rock Island and Scott counties are eligible to receive long-awaited vaccines against Covid-19.

The Iowa Department of Public Health has announced that beginning Monday, March 8, health care providers are now authorized to vaccinate individuals 64 years of age and younger with medical conditions that are or may be an increased risk of severe illness from

The eligibility requirements for those receiving the Covid-19 vaccine have been expanded in Illinois and Iowa.

Covid-19.

Qualifying underlying conditions can be found on the Centers for Disease Control list of underlying conditions. The IDPH press announcement stated:

“This announcement comes as several Iowa counties have reported they are nearing completion for vaccinating previous priority population groups. Some counties and vaccine providers will remain focused on previous priority populations until they are closer to completion.

“Because vaccine production has not fully met the demand for vaccine, Iowans will need to remain patient as vaccine production increases. The White House announced this week that by the end of May, there will be enough vaccine for anyone over the age of 16 who chooses to receive one.”

According to the CDC, adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes Covid-19. Severe illness from Covid-19 is defined as hospitalization, admission to the ICU, intubation or mechanical ventilation, or death.

Close up of a young woman getting vaccinated

Adults of any age with the following conditions are at increased risk of severe illness from the virus that causes Covid:

There have been 10,809 people in Rock Island County and 12,459 in Scott County who have received their complete Covid vaccines – among 8.3 percent who are fully vaccinated in Illinois and 8 percent in Iowa so far.

Nationwide, 57.4 million have received at least one vaccine dose, and 29.8 million (or 9 percent of the population) have been fully vaccinated.

In Scott County, there have been 213 deaths related to Covid, out of 18,420 positive cases, compared to 330 deaths in Rock Island County and 13,169 positive cases.

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Currently, there are limited data and information about the impact of many underlying medical conditions on the risk for severe illness from Covid-19. Based on what the CDC knows at this time, adults of any age with the following conditions might be at an increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes Covid:

Scott County still has thousands of individuals in the Phase 1B 65+ priority group and individuals in the Phase 1B Tier 2-5 priority groups still needing vaccine. As with each move between phases of the vaccine prioritization groups, this transition will take time. The health department said it is hopeful that increased vaccine supply in the upcoming weeks will help smooth this transition.

The Scott County and Rock Island County health departments are working to help residents get their Covid vaccines.

Previously, the phase 1B of vaccine administration prioritized the following groups:

  • Persons aged 65 years and over, and the following populations vulnerable to high risk of exposure or severity of illness (listed in order of priority):
  • First Responders
  • PK-12 staff, early childhood education, childcare workers
  • Frontline essential workers in food, agriculture, distribution, and manufacturing sectors who live or work in non-social distanced settings (Restaurant, grocery, and other essential workers are not included in 1B unless they meet another phase requirement.)
  • Individuals with disabilities living in home settings and their direct care staff

Rock Island County in late February also expanded vaccine eligibility to people under 65 with one of the following health conditions:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Pulmonary Diseases
  • Smoking
  • Heart Conditions
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Cancer
  • Solid Organ Transplant
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Persons with a disability who do not otherwise have an eligible condition – For this purpose, persons with a disability is defined as a “person who is, and who is expected to indefinitely continue to be, subject to any of the following five types of disabilities: physical disability, developmental disability, visual disability, hearing disability, or mental disability.”

Previously approved phase 1B groups include:

  • Residents 65 and older (different from federal recommendation of age 75 and older)
  • Frontline essential workers, defined as those workers who are essential for the functioning of society: The state listed several groups as being in Phase 1B, but officials said this is not an exhaustive list:
  • First responders: Fire, law enforcement, 911 workers, security personnel, school officers
  • Education: Teachers, principals, student support, student aides, day care worker
  • Food and agriculture: Processing, plants, veterinary health, livestock services, animal care
  • Manufacturing: Industrial production of goods for distribution to retail, wholesale or other manufacturers
  • Corrections workers and inmates: Jail officers, juvenile facility staff, workers providing in-person support, inmates
  • S. Postal Service workers
  • Public transit workers: Flight crews, bus drivers, train conductors, taxi drivers, para-transit drivers, in-person support, ride-sharing services
  • Grocery store workers: Baggers, cashiers, stockers, pickup, customer service
  • Shelters and day care staff: Homeless shelter, women’s shelter, adult day/drop-in program, sheltered workshop, psycho-social rehab

According to Rock Island County, there will be no out-of-pocket cost to receive the Covid-19 at a RICHD drive-through vaccination clinic. Other providers may charge an administrative fee that could be billed to insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.

The TaxSlayer Center, 1201 River Drive, Moline, is holding drive through test sites.

Upcoming Covid-19 drive through test site dates at the TaxSlayer Center, 1201 River Drive, Moline, are:

  • Monday, March 15, 8 am – 4 pm
  • Monday, March 22, 8 am – 4 pm
  • Monday, March 29, 8 am – 4 pm

Ways to register for the vaccine

According to Genesis Health System, there is nothing for you to do if you are a patient with a Genesis primary care provider. You DO NOT need to call your provider’s office. Genesis providers have ordered vaccinations for all their 1B: 65 and older patients. There is no pre-registration to receive the Covid-19 vaccine through Genesis. Once vaccination supply is received, Genesis will contact you to schedule your appointment.

  • If you see a Genesis specialist/partner such as an oncologist, pulmonologist, etc., they are also placing vaccine orders for their 1B 65+ population.
  • Genesis will contact you to schedule your vaccine, as we continue to receive vaccine from the health departments.
  • For those 1B 65+ patients who do not have a Genesis provider, they can connect you with a provider by calling 563-421-DOCS(3627) OR you can contact CASI at 563-386-7477 to get scheduled for a vaccination. Seniors who have already called CASI for assistance do not need to call again. CASI will be in contact regarding next steps.

For more information on Scott County Health Department vaccine clinics, visit www.scottcountyiowa.gov/health/covid19/vaccine/vaccine-clinic.

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Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.