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People with chronic health conditions in Iowa now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines

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DES MOINES — Those with certain medical conditions as well as pregnant people, smokers and those who are overweight are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Starting Monday, hospitals, clinics and pharmacies can start vaccinating those under 65 who the CDC says have an increased risk for severe illness from the coronavirus, the Iowa Department of Public Health announced Thursday evening.

Those conditions, according to the CDC, include the following:

  • Asthma.
  • Cancer.
  • Cerebrovascular disease.
  • Chronic kidney disease.
  • COPD.
  • Cystic fibrosis.
  • Down syndrome.
  • Certain heart conditions.
  • High blood pressure or hypertension.
  • Liver disease.
  • Neurological conditions such as dementia.
  • Organ transplant recipients with a weakened immune system.
  • Overweight (BMI of over 25), including obese and severe obesity.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (damaged or scarred lung tissues).
  • Sickle cell disease.
  • Smoking.
  • Thalassemia.
  • Type 1 diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Weakened immune system or immunocompromised.

“Several Iowa counties have reported they are nearing completion for vaccinating previous priority population groups,” IDPH said in its statement, noting that “some counties” that weren’t through with those groups, including health care providers, manufacturing workers and those over 65, “will remain focused” on them.

Those over 65 who still need to get a vaccine appointment may call 211 starting Tuesday, IDPH said, noting call center staff will help people set up appointments.

IDPH stated those who fall into those groups will “need to remain patient as vaccine production increases,” noting the Biden administration has said there will be enough vaccine for everyone over the age of 16 by the end of May.

 Iowa does not have a central vaccination sign up. Instead, the state’s website recommends checking with your local public health agency, wait for your regular health care provider to call, or check with a Hy-Vee, Walgreens, CVS or other local pharmacy to schedule an appointment.

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