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“Don’t lie”: Iowans DO NOT need to prove eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine

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BLACK HAWK COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) - The Iowa Department of Public Health is not requiring proof of underlying health conditions from Iowans wanting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Those under the age of 65 with underlying health conditions now qualify to get the vaccine. State and local leaders are relying on residents to be truthful when making an appointment.

Some of those pre-existing conditions include smoking and heart problems, which are pretty hard to see with the naked eye. As of this writing, you don't need to prove you are eligible to get the shot.

"We haven't required anything, and that's just the directive that we've been given," Greenwood Pharmacy pharmacist and operations manager Joe Greenwood said.

IPDH, pharmacies, and county health departments are relying solely on the honor system.

We are relying on Iowans to be truthful in their attestation of having one of the conditions outlined by the CDC that would put them at greater risk for illness as a result of the COVID-19 virus. We know that most Iowans will do the right thing and wait until they are eligible. Requiring additional documentation or instituting a referral process would hinder and slow the process and the progress we are making in Iowa considerably. 

Statement from the Iowa Department of Public Health

"There's a reason why different groups have been designated before others and we ask that people abide by that," Black Hawk County Environmental Health Manager Jared Parmater said.

County health officials across the state are urging healthy people who are not a part of the eligible groups to not jump the line. Those who do choose to do that can affect the health of others who might need the vaccine.

"They have increased chances for having a severe infection, or having a longer infection, or not being able to fight off the infection at all," Greenwood said.

The main issue continues to be the limited supply of vaccine doses coming into counties and the state. Providers hope to get an increase for the tens of thousands who are now eligible.

Greenwood Pharmacy expects to receive more doses each week starting at the end of March and expects the same for providers across the state. Pharmacists there say production has gone up, and they should see a rise.

"The vaccine will be available for everyone. We will have increased supply," Greenwood said.

Those 65 and older, and other groups that fall into Phase 1B are still getting vaccines. County health officials are asking for patience and cooperation from the public.

On Thursday, Biden announced that he is directing states to make all American adults eligible for the vaccine by May 1. Reynolds says it is possible that Iowa beats that deadline if vaccine supply continues to increase as projected.