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Gov. Reynolds says Iowa will receive nearly 50,000 vaccine doses in next shipment

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Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said in her press conference Wednesday, the state will receive a five percent increase of COVID-19 vaccines.

On Tuesday, the White House held a weekly COVID-19 update call with governors across the country.

"Beginning this week, states will receive 5 percent more vaccine than last week for a total of 11 million doses distributed nationwide," said Reynolds.

Iowa's allocation will increase to 49,900 total doses, which Gov. Reynolds says that shipment could arrive as soon as the end of the week.

Reynolds says an issue with Iowa's vaccine rollout has to do with the number of long-term care facilities in the state.

"On a per capita basis, we're in the top five. Every state will tell you this, I'm on a call with all governor's weekly and it is not a partisan issue," said Reynolds. "They have been very frustrated with the roll out with the long-term care partnerships and the time that it's taken for them to implement it and the way that that's been displayed on the CDC's website and how it looks like states aren't adequately administering the vaccine. "

The state is part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program which is a collaboration between the federal government, states and territories, and 21 national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks to increase access to COVID-19 vaccination across the United States, started this week.

"In Iowa that program will include more than 40 Hy-Vee pharmacy locations and 30 pharmacies that are part of the CPESN network expanding access to vaccines in many Iowa communities," explained Reynolds.

All participating pharmacies will be announced soon. Reynolds says information about how to get an appointment will be provided by local public health departments.

Participating pharmacies will be added to the state's coronavirus website.

Earlier this week, Microsoft was selected to assist the state to develop and deploy a vaccine registration and appointment scheduling system.

"We are now reviewing proposals for a call center to really complete the operation," added Gov. Reynolds.

On Friday, Gov. Reynolds announced she is relaxing public health measures initially put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Iowa.

Reynolds was asked if any metrics were involved in the decision.

"I've been very consistent in the steps we've taken to really dial up and dial down and work through COVID-19," said Reynolds.

Reynolds points to the state's decrease in hospitalizations and virus activity since November, when she put stricter measures in place.

"Hospitalizations are down 80 percent, positivity rate is down," said Reynolds. "Long-term care outbreaks have gone breaks have gone from 166 to 39. We're vaccinating older Iowans, we're almost through our long-term care."

But, Iowans are still transmitting the virus. The state has a seven day rolling average positivity rate of 26 percent, the highest in the nation according to Johns Hopkins University.

Also, 3 cases of the new and potentially more contagious UK variant has been found in Johnson and Bremer counties.

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"While the pandemic is not over, Iowans have proven again that we can manage it while living our lives responsibly and normally," said Reynolds.

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