Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|May 21, 2021

Iowa news

Iowa law that bans local mask mandates forever hobbles future pandemic responses, public health experts say

A new law barring local governments and school boards from enacting mask mandates stricter than what the state has in place shows “the willful ignorance” of its backers, a Des Moines infectious disease doctor said Thursday. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the bill, introduced on the final day of the session, into law in the middle of the night as witnesses to the ceremony clapped, according to video posted by Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley. (Des Moines Register)

Expert: Iowans should ease pandemic precautions at their own pace

The CDC’s recent relaxation in its restrictions for those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 has left some anxious. Douglas Gentile, a professor of psychology at Iowa State University, says despite the drastic change in public health guidance, many people will need to ease slowly into returning to activities and outings, and that will look different for everyone. Gentile says it’s normal if fully vaccinated people want to continue wearing masks, and if activities like eating at a restaurant don’t feel the same way they used to at first. (Iowa Public Radio)

Bill passed by Iowa Legislature allows voters to establish a levy to fund EMS services

Iowa voters could establish a new local property levy to provide funding for emergency medical services (EMS) under a provision included a bill that cleared the legislature late Wednesday night. Ambulance services have been lobbying for this for 50 years. Calling for an ambulance in rural Iowa often depends on a response from a volunteer department running on donations from pancake breakfasts and other fundraisers. (Explore Okoboji)

National news

Fact check: Businesses can legally ask if patrons have been vaccinated. HIPAA does not apply.

As mask-wearing and social-distancing guidelines relax for fully vaccinated people, businesses are navigating how to implement new policies in their stores. Many businesses are ending mask requirements only for fully vaccinated customers. Vaccine opponents, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., are using the occasion to resurrect the false claim that the HIPAA federal privacy law protects individuals from being asked about their vaccination status. (Des Moines Register)

Fauci says he expects vaccines for younger children by the end of year or early 2022

Anthony Fauci, MD, the chief medical adviser to President Biden, says he expects COVID-19 vaccinations to open up to younger children in the coming months. He said children at least as young as 4 “would likely be able to get vaccinated by the time we reach the end of calendar year 2021 and at the latest, into the first quarter of 2022.” Pfizer and Moderna are conducting clinical trials of their vaccines in groups of kids as young as 6 months. (Iowa Public Radio)

FDA authorizes longer time for refrigerator storage of thawed Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine before dilution, making vaccine more widely available

Making COVID-19 vaccines widely available is key to getting people vaccinated and bringing the pandemic to an end. Pfizer submitted data to the FDA to support storage of undiluted, thawed vials of its COVID-19 vaccine for up to one month at refrigerator temperatures. This change should make this vaccine more widely available to the American public by facilitating the ability of vaccine providers, such as community doctors’ offices, to receive, store and administer the vaccine. (

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