Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Vaccine update: State expands vaccine eligibility criteria

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has expanded Phase 1B Vaccine Priority Population to include people with underlying health conditions. As of March 8, individuals age 64 and younger with medical conditions that are or may be at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines are now eligible.

vaccine timeline for Iowans

The University of Iowa continues to vaccinate faculty, staff, and students who, based on their employment duties at the UI or required field experience, are identified as a priority population under IDPH guidelines. Examples include first responders, those who provide clinical patient care, or those placed in a preK-12 classroom.

Most UI employees will receive their vaccine through their primary care provider or pharmacy.

UI Health Care is offering COVID‑19 vaccinations to eligible patients and members of the community as supplies permit. If you are eligible, you will be contacted directly by UI Health Care staff through the electronic health record system, MyChart, or by phone when an appointment is available. All vaccinations will be pre-scheduled and by appointment only.

If you are not yet eligible, you may register your interest in receiving the vaccine by completing a form in MyChart. This does not confirm a vaccination appointment, but signals your desire to be vaccinated once you are eligible and doses are available.

Please avoid calling to keep phone lines open for those needing patient care appointments. The best way to stay informed is to visit

The state of Iowa also has a vaccine finder at where you can search for available vaccine appointments. If assistance is needed via phone, you can call 211. To find a vaccine location and availability near you, use

Vaccine availability

Demand for the vaccine continues to outpace production, so we continue to ask for your patience and support. In the meantime, we can continue to protect ourselves by wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance from others, washing our hands frequently, and avoiding indoor gatherings with others outside our household. We are all in this together.

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II) application opens March 15

The University of Iowa has received additional funds through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to distribute to students with exceptional financial need who are enrolled during the spring 2021 semester. The HEERF II Grant application will open in MyUI on March 15 and will remain open through March 31. Information about eligibility and how to apply is available through the Office of Student Financial Aid. Applying does not guarantee funds will be approved.

Mental health resources: Overcoming stigma and mental health myths

The ongoing impact of COVID-19 has created a great deal of stress and uncertainty for individuals, families, communities, and health care providers. While things seem to be improving, many of us are still trying to process our feelings one year into the pandemic. As you sit with these feelings, you may benefit from seeking support from a mental health provider. However, mental health stigma can prevent some from reaching out for help.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Your needs are valid. We are not here to compare pain and decide who has it worse. A therapist can help you identify and work on reducing symptoms that are interfering with your work and personal life.
  • Stigma. We may be reluctant to admit we need treatment out of fear of being labeled with a “mental illness.” Seeking help and educating yourself about your concerns can help you overcome self-judgement and build self-esteem.
  • It’s not all about self-care. While making time to do things you enjoy can relieve stress, caring for yourself also can include setting boundaries and being honest with yourself about your needs.
  • You’re not alone. Reach out to friends, family, and people you trust for support. Sharing what you are going through can help you feel less isolated.

For more resources on overcoming the stigma related to seeking mental health services, listen to University Counseling Service’s Therapists are People podcast, which breaks down mental health myths that can prevent us from seeking support.

For more information about mental health resources, see

For counseling and support, the Employee Assistance Program offers confidential counseling at no cost for UI employees and their families; or University Counseling Service offers confidential counseling and support for students. Participate in Kognito Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Training.

Campus operations

The university continues to monitor self-reported COVID-19 testing data on campus, while also tracking state, region, and national COVID-19 infection rates.

johnson county 7-day rolling average

University of Iowa self-reported COVID-19 testing

These data reflect new cases since March 8, 2021.

The University of Iowa has published an updated snapshot of self-reported positive COVID-19 tests from faculty, staff, and students.

Number of self-reported cases of COVID-19


  • New cases: 5
  • Total cases: 3,026


  • New cases: 1
  • Total cases: 450

These numbers reflect only self-reported positive or presumed positive COVID-19 tests from UI faculty, staff, and students on the academic campus since Aug. 18, 2020. These data will not match data reported by UI Hospitals & Clinics or by the Iowa Department of Public Health for several reasons, including different testing time intervals and geographic scope. Students who also are employees of the university are only reported in the student number to avoid double counting. The UI has more than 30,000 students and nearly 30,000 employees. Many employees continue to work remotely but have self-reported to authorize sick leave.

Number of residence hall students in quarantine: 0*

Number of residence hall students in self-isolation: 5**

*Quarantine: Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others.

**Self-isolation: Isolation is used to separate people infected with the virus (those who are symptomatic and those with no symptoms) from people who are not infected.