The local health department is awaiting word from the state on how and when booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be administered, as well as guidelines regarding vaccine mandates announced by President Joe Biden last week. 

“We are still waiting for guidance on the booster shot,” said Michele Cullen, who oversees public health in Clinton and Jackson counties. 

She does not anticipate getting that information until next week at the earliest, she said at her weekly update to the Clinton County Board of Supervisors Monday.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last month announced its plan for booster shots to become available this fall. That plan is subject to authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a recommendation by the Center for Disease Control Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The ACIP committee meets Monday.

The booster shot will be available to people eight months after their second vaccine. Based on when coronavirus vaccines were available locally, late September is the soonest anyone would be eligible. The booster shot is different from the third dose of vaccine the Center for Disease Control recommends for patients who are immunocompromised 28 days after their second vaccine dose. That applies to people who are receiving some types of active cancer treatment, received an organ transplant and are on immunosuppressive medications, have rheumatoid arthritis, are taking high doses of prednisone, or other such situations.

“We will keep everybody updated on that as we know more,” Cullen said of the booster shots. “The same with the President’s mandate.” 

Biden last week ordered millions of workers to get the vaccine, including federal employees and contractors, health care workers, and people working at companies with 100 or more employees. 

As of Monday morning, Clinton County reported 99 new COVID-19 cases from a week earlier and a 14-day positivity rate of 11.3%, up from 10.7% last week. Jackson County reported 54 new cases from a week earlier and a 14-day positivity rate of 13.8%. 

The local state hospitalization rates are staying fairly steady, up just slightly from a week ago, with 77% of the people hospitalized not vaccinated. 

In Region 5 of Iowa, which includes Clinton and Jackson counties, 132 people are hospitalized, about the same as last week. Fifty-two of those people are in intensive care. 

The vaccination rate in Clinton and Jackson counties on Monday was 52% and 53.2%, up slightly from last week, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. The state vaccination rate is 58.5%. Those numbers include people who are 12 and older and fully vaccinated.  

“We just keep plugging away there,” Cullen said of the vaccination rate. “Things are kind of increasing but not dramatically increasing. We’ll keep an eye on it.”

The Washington Post reported that Iowa’s coronavirus cases rose 5% in the past week. On a per capita basis, the state ranked 27th in the nation. Hospitalizations were up 3.8%. Iowa’s test positivity rate was 12.1% in the past week, the Post reported. Tests were up 1.9%.

The IDPH reported that as of Monday, Iowa had recorded 454,989 COVID cases and 6,337 related deaths since the pandemic started. That included 30 deaths in the past week.