Iowa turns down 71% of available vaccines on weak demand
Iowa is turning down nearly three quarters of the vaccine doses available to the state from the federal government because demand for the shots remains weak. The Iowa Department of Public Health and Safety said the state asked the federal government to withhold 71% of the 105,300 vaccine doses that were available for the week of May 10. This is the second week in a row that the state has asked the federal government to hold back part of its allocation of vaccine doses. (Associated Press)
Cedar Rapids modifies mask mandate
The city of Cedar Rapids is modifying its mask mandate to loosen requirements for people who are fully vaccinated. Under the new order, those who have completed their vaccine series don’t have to wear masks outside except when in large gatherings or crowded settings. Fully vaccinated people also won’t have to wear masks when gathering with other fully vaccinated people indoors. (Iowa Public Radio)
Dead bills are haunting the Capitol. Here’s one worth reviving.
Rep. Joel Fry, R-Osceola, has shepherded legislation through the Iowa House twice so far that would require insurers and Medicaid to pay mental health care providers the same rate for telehealth services as they would receive for an in-person patient visit. It’s an important issue to mental health advocates and providers, who have described telehealth as one of the few bright spots to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)
Children now account for 22% of new US COVID-19 cases. Why is that?
Children account for more than a fifth of new coronavirus cases in states that release data by age, a surprising statistic compared to this time last year when child COVID-19 cases made up only around 3% of the US total. Experts link the trend to several factors – particularly high vaccination rates among older Americans. But other dynamics are also in play, from new COVID-19 variants to the loosening of restrictions on school activities. (Iowa Public Radio)
Is herd immunity to COVID-19 possible? Experts increasingly say no.
For almost a year, Americans have been looking forward to herd immunity, when enough people are protected through vaccination or past infection to stop the spread of COVID-19. Once there, public officials have said, masks won’t be necessary and hugging and handshakes – not to mention gyms, bars and indoor dining – can return. But even as more than half of adult Americans have received at least one dose of vaccine and many others are protected by recent infections, health experts are moving away from the idea of reaching some magic number. (USA Today)
Tracking COVID-19 vaccine distribution by state: How many people have been vaccinated in the US?
COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed across the U.S. and its territories. Three vaccines – one made by Pfizer-BioNTech, one from Moderna and another from Johnson & Johnson – have been authorized for emergency use and are part of the widespread distribution process. The first shots were given Dec. 14. On April 13, the FDA and CDC recommended pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine “out of an abundance of caution” due to reports of a rare combination of blood clots and low platelet counts in some women who received the vaccine. Out of the more than eight million people who received the J&J vaccine, 15 were confirmed to have developed this side effect. (USA Today)