(The Center Square) – Close to one year after Iowa reported its first cases of COVID-19, nearly 741,000 vaccine doses have been administered in the state.
“In some ways, I can hardly believe it’s already been a year – in others, it seems like forever since almost anything has felt normal,” Reynolds announced at a news conference on Wednesday. “And yet, finally, there’s a renewed sense of hope and optimism. Not that long ago, we could only imagine what it would feel like when vaccines became available and when we could again enjoy the quality of life that we value so deeply as Iowans. Well, that time is now.”
The FDA issued emergency use authorization on February 27 for the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
Nearly 70 percent of Iowans 65 and older and almost 23 percent of all eligible Iowan adults have received the first dose of the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Reynolds said.
President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that there would be a sufficient supply of vaccines for all American adults by the end of May.
“But as we reflect on this one-year anniversary, we cannot and should not forget those who lost their lives to COVID-19,” Reynolds said. “On Monday, I will ask that you join me in remembering them and praying for the peace and comfort of those who loved them. In the meantime, we’ll continue to move forward as Iowans do with resilience, tenacity, and hope.”
Reynolds urged Iowans to receive their vaccines as soon as they can.
The Iowa Department of Public Health announced the first three “presumptive positive cases” of the coronavirus in the state on March 8, 2020. The following day, Reynolds declared a disaster emergency, authorizing state agencies to “utilize resources including personnel, equipment, and facilities to perform activities necessary” to stop the spread of the virus, and five more “presumptive positive” COVID-19 cases were declared. On March 10, 2020, the Iowa Veterans Home and the Iowa Department of Human Services announced they would restrict visitors. Two weeks later, Reynolds and the department announced the first COVID-19-related death in the state.
Daniel Conway, a University of Iowa Health Care emergency department nurse, was the first Iowan to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, on Dec. 14, 2020, according to The Gazette.
As of 6:30 p.m. (CT) Thursday, Iowa has 365,619 total positive tests, according to the state’s website on COVID-19. The state has reported 5,536 total deaths. COVID-19 was noted as the underlying cause of 4,960 of those deaths.