DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds said that she would not mandate the COVID-19 vaccine during her press conference on Wednesday.
She was asked by a reporter why she is not requiring state workers or long-term care facility staff to get the vaccine.
“I’m saying is we still have a limited supply, (we’ve) opened it up. People have the opportunity to get the vaccine, and we’re going to continue to encourage them to do that,” Reynolds answered.
“Not going to make it a mandate, that will be a decision by private employers,” she added and later added that 60 percent of long-term care facility staff in private facilities have been vaccinated.
Reynolds also reported that 1.52 million doses of vaccine have been administered to eligible Iowans over the age of 18. She added that the state’s 6 percent administration rate ranks Iowa fifth in the nation. She added that 40 percent of Iowans, 18 and older, have received at least one dose of the vaccine, putting Iowa in 17th place nationally.
Reynolds also reported 85 percent of Iowans 65-years-of age or older are vaccinated. She added that 603,000 Iowans are fully vaccinated, around 25 percent of the population, ranking Iowa in 7th place nationally for people completely vaccinated.
She stressed how important it is for Iowans to be vaccinated for COVID-19 with new studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention being released demonstrating its efficacy.
“Knowing that the vaccine performs as expected when put to the test under real-life conditions provides even more substantial evidence of the benefits of vaccination especially for working-age adults according to the CDC. The study reinforces its recommendation that all eligible Iowans should be fully immunized,” Reynolds said.
“For months we held on to hope that a vaccine would eventually be available and that it would make it possible to get life back to normal and I think we all can say that time is now vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. And it’s what will allow us to fully return to living our lives in the ways that we value the most,” she added.
She pointed out that if the state continues on its current daily administration rate, 75 percent of Iowans will be vaccinated by July 2. That depends, she noted, on the allocation of vaccine that the state receives.
Positive cases have increased in the state, and according to Kelly Garcia, interim director of the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), that is largely due to spring break travel and a number of variant strains of the coronavirus circulating the state. According to IDPH, the state’s positivity rate for the past 14 days is 4.7 percent, and 4.5 percent in the last seven days. Statewide there are only 191 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19.
Listen to the full press conference below: