(Des Moines) -- Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says the state is still on track to begin offering COVID-19 vaccines to everyone who wants one by April 5th.
During her weekly press conference Wednesday, Reynolds says the White House has indicated that Iowa will be receiving 25,000 additional doses of vaccine with its weekly shipment over the next two weeks. Reynolds had previously said that the state would tentatively be able to offer vaccines to everyone over the age of 18 by April 5th. She says that date is still the target and that they are hoping to have 70% of the 18-64 population with underlying conditions vaccinated by then.
"We've hit that with our 65 year and older population," said Reynolds. "We've hit that with educators and their staff, our first responders, our daycare providers, so we opened it up to 18-64 with underlying conditions, which is a large segment of our population already."
In the meantime, she says her administration continues outreach efforts to make sure those individual already eligible for a shot can get one before the vaccines are opened up to the general public.
"Our local public health and our doctors and clinics and hospitals know the population in their communities," said Reynolds. "They also can be a very valuable resource in helping identify that population and making sure that we're encouraging them to get the vaccine to protect themselves."
Even as vaccine allocation into the state has increased, vaccine appointments have still been hard to come by for certain individuals. Reynolds says there are several plans in place for community vaccination events, but they are all driven by having enough vaccine available.
"We're seeing not only our allocation increase, but our retail pharmacy partners are seeing theirs increase a little bit," said Reynolds. "We're seeing additional pharmacies being brought into that as well. So, you're going to continue to see additional providers being brought onboard."
Reynolds says she participated in a phone call with a handful of other governors and the CEO of Johnson & Johnson, who manufactures the one-shot vaccine. She says she is confident that supplies will increase soon and that wait times for appointments will decrease as a result.
"As we see more doses come in, you're going to see that wait continue to decline," said Reynolds. "But it is a supply and demand issue and it's going to be for awhile. Even as we open it up to additional Iowans like we have before, the request is going to be smaller than the demand, but as those numbers continue to increase and we continue to get the allocations into the state, we're going to continue to see that timeline open up more and more and more Iowans be available."
Reynolds says the first wave of additional Johnson & Johnson vaccines into the state will be used at employer-sponsored vaccination events, while the next increase in shipments will be used once the state has opened appointments up to the general public.