Sioux Center Health launched a new website link in preparation for the next phase of COVID-19 vaccine administration.

Only residents who are 65-plus that are interested in receiving the vaccine may go online to to fill out a form to get on the waiting list.

“Sioux Center Health wants to help people in our communities receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Sioux Center Health CEO Cory Nelson, noting that as directed by the Iowa Department of Public Health, Sioux Center Health anticipates moving from Phase 1A front line health care workers to the Phase 1B priority group the first week of February.

“Our challenge with Phase1B is that there are so few doses coming to Iowa and trickling back to Sioux County that it remains a challenge to put together a large scale vaccination clinic like we need to get a lot of people so while Phase 1B include five tiers, Sioux Center Health’s main priority is to vaccine those 65 years old or older due to limited supply of the vaccine.”

Nelson said it’s the hospital’s goal to try work with larger employers in the community to do a mass vaccination at their site when large quantities of the doses are available.

“We don’t know if we’re going to get 20 doses or 120 doses, more or less, on a weekly basis,” Nelson said. “We are going to target that population of 65 and older with the doses that we get. It’s the only logical way we can approach this because those individuals are at the highest risk for significant negative outcomes if they do happen to contract COVID.”

Those eligible for the vaccine who sign up online will be contacted to schedule a vaccination appointment.

Sioux Center Health is in the process of working with a church in the community, targeting Feb. 4 as its first vaccination clinic.

“We want to be able to have access to a large parking lot and have the ability to monitor people for 15-20 minutes after the vaccination dose is given,” Nelson said.

All vaccinations will be given in a vaccination clinic setting and not on an individual basis.

Sioux Center Health will not be vaccinating any group early or keeping a waiting list for those wishing to be vaccinated outside of the Phase 1B priority group.

“We will update our website and this waiting list form once we are notified that other phases are available and more people are able to be vaccinated from the state,” Nelson said, noting residents are asked to sign up only once. “Vaccines are limited and could take months to get through the Phase 1B priority group. Please be patient and wait to be contacted for your scheduled time to be vaccinated.”

Sioux Center Health has vaccinated a total of 406 with the first dose so far, with 296 being staff or volunteers who work directly with patients. The other 110 first-dose vaccinations were to others eligible phase 1 such as dentists and chiropractors.

About 20 of Sioux Center Health’s staff have received their second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The vast majority have their second dose this week and next.

“With a small number of people having minor reactions to it whether it be fever or muscle aches, for example, we don’t want everyone knocked out the same day so we staggered the first dose and will do the same with the second,” Nelson said.

A total of 85 residents at Sioux Center Health’s senior living campuses received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine; only four residents declined. They’ll receive their second dose in three weeks.

“It’s really exciting to be at this point, knowing we’re getting vaccinations in arms and every day we’re closer to ending this global pandemic, but on the other side it is frustrating because we know there are states across the country that are getting more vaccines than we are, getting thousands of people vaccinated when we’re counting them by ones, twos and 20s,” Nelson said.

Sioux Center Health has completed 2,377 tests since April, 874 of which have been positive creating a 35.6 percent positive rate since the pandemic hit.

“The good news is the one week positivity rate is 17 percent and the two week rate is 15.3 percent, so the numbers are dropping significantly,” Nelson said.

A total of 2,674 tests have been done at the Test Iowa site on Sioux Center Health’s main campus, 804 of which were positive creating a 30 percent positive rate.

The hospital, however, had just one COVID-19 patient as of Monday.

“While we did have six on one day last week, they’re there for a shorter period of time,” Nelson said. “We’ll have those small bumps rather than major spikes helping us trend closer to normal.”

Sioux Center Health’s senior campus, as of Monday, had no positive COVID cases also. The last resident to test positive was Dec. 28.

“There’s a misconception that if a person had COVID, they can’t get vaccinated for 90 days, but that’s not the case,” Nelson said, noting the only people who need to wait 90 days are those who’ve had antibody treatments. “We want to make sure that people don’t have to wait longer than they have to once the vaccine is more readily available because the more vaccines we get into arms, the sooner we get through this pandemic.”


Published by Sioux Center News