It's a far cry from last winter and spring when the three current vaccines for COVID-19 began rolling out and it seemed like there weren't enough of them to go around. Folks were scrambling to find an appointment to get their shots, some willing to travel miles to do so. These days, according to the Iowa City Press-Citizen, the state is literally having trouble even giving away the vaccine.
Excitement for the return of concerts, public events, and physical visits with loved ones we all waited so long for are slowly scaling back just as soon as they started back up. Health officials say it's for one reason.
Tens of thousands of doses are being tossed
Believe it or not, there's an expiration date on the vaccine doses, and so far 81,186 of them have reached that point and been discarded. These are single unused doses as well as multiple-dose vials containing some that couldn't be used quickly enough, according to Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) spokesperson Sarah Ekstrand.
MIscommunication and fear are behind the unused vaccines
Whether for personal reasons, health reasons, or continued confusion and skepticism about the actual effectiveness of the vaccines, especially in light of the growing resurgence from the "delta variant", the demand for vaccines has slowed down significantly among the public. A warning from IDPH said that they may be left with 217,000 expired and unused doses by the end of August unless demand picks back up. That number is in the millions nationwide. It may not help that the three currently distributed vaccines have still only been OK'd for emergency use and not fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That is close to changing, according to a University of Iowa medical professor and infectious disease physician who hopes and thinks full federal approval will reduce some of the hesitancy.
Meanwhile, other health officials remain discouraged by the numbers
59 percent of eligible Iowans have currently been vaccinated. That sounds like a lot of people but it's far lower than health officials had been hoping for by this time. Vaccinate Iowa's website is a great resource for those looking for the vaccine.