Warren County got an early Christmas present last week — 1,200 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

“They’re out there,” said Warren County Public Health director Jodene DeVault. “We’re trying everything we can, social media, to tell where health care providers can go.”

DeVault said the county started giving shots on Dec. 22. Injections are currently available to what DeVault called group 1A, including health care providers, residents of long-term care facilities and their staffs.

Once members of the 1A group have received their vaccines, injections can begin for group 1B. but that could take a while, she said. 

“They’re pretty much standing firm,” she said. “If Polk County runs behind, the rest of us don’t move forward until they’re ready.”

DeVault said shots for members of the 1A group are available at Warren County Public Health, but also at the Indianola Hy-Vee Pharmacy, Medicap in Carlisle, Indianola and Norwalk, the Indianola MercyOne Clinic and the UnityPoint clinics in Indianola and Norwalk. Health care workers can call to schedule an appointment at those locations, she said. Each site received about 100 shots.

DeVault said the county is offering the Moderna vaccine, which doesn’t require the ultra-cold storage necessary for the Pfizer vaccine.

Moderna is “all we’ll ever get,” she said. “There’s no place in Warren County to store the Pfizer vaccine.”

DeVault said once group 1A is inoculated “we have a long list of people who have called to say they’re very interested when they’re available.

“If you give me enough vaccine I’ll make sure it gets in someone’s arm,” she said.

In the meantime, Warren County added 30 cases of the virus as of Thursday, for a total of 3,696 cases of the virus since the pandemic began. Fourteen of those cases came in the 50125/Indianola zip code, while 11 were in the 50211/Norwalk zip code. Another three cases were in the 50139/Lacona zip code and 50320/Des Moines and 50061/Cumming had one each, according to the Warren County Public Health Department’s web site.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports that 60 Warren County residents were tested for the virus between Wednesday and Thursday. A total of 2,982 have recovered from the virus and the number of deaths in the county increased by one to 34, according to the web site.

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