[UPDATE 3/8/21, 9:09 a.m.]: After Linn County Public Health officials discussed their action plan in response to the sudden announcement that most individuals age 16-64 with underlying health conditions would be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine today, March 8, the Cedar Rapids Gazette says providers through LCPH will honor a full slate of appointments for those 65+ this week before making them available to those in the additional groups on Sunday, March 14. Even after that, they will continue to prioritize the most vulnerable populations.

[ORIGINAL STORY]: Don't get too eager to get your vaccine just yet if you're among the new group eligible starting today. It won't quite include the entire remainder of the general public but it will include those under 64 with "underlying health conditions", a list of which you can find here.

Linn County Public Health (LCPH) says they and other healthcare providers were "caught off-guard" by the decision to open up to this group at the last minute last Thursday night.

Due to logistical and planning issues, LCPH says they may not be ready to accommodate until next Monday, March 15 at county-run distribution points. Heather Meador is the Clinical Branch Supervisor at LCPH. She tells KCRG anyone wanting their vaccine from the new group will still be able to get it first-come, first-served from pharmacies and grocers because they receive their supply from and have programs administered by the federal government.

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It's different for LCPH. She doesn't know when additional supplies of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will arrive but it likely won't be until late March. With the new group including patients with a litany of conditions from cancer to chronic kidney disease, down syndrome, COPD, diabetes, and even smokers past or present and those who are clinically obese, Meador says these additions include a significant part of the population, and the wait times are going to get longer before available vaccine supply ramps up.

It also wasn't known as of Friday whether those in the newly-eligible groups will have to provide proof of their condition, so, simply put, LCPH just won't be prepared.

More details will be forthcoming as LCPH planned to huddle over the weekend to discuss their action plan.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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