The COVID-19 numbers haven't been great across the nation in the past several weeks. They've been even worse in Iowa. But one encouraging development in the battle against coronavirus is the fact that numerous vaccines for the virus are turning out to be very effective. And it could only be a matter of weeks before they're in the hands of medical professionals.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that local health care providers say the expect the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine to arrive within weeks. Officials are finalizing details surrounding the the distribution of that vaccine as they wait for final approval from federal health regulators. Linn County Health officials are urging people to understand that while they plan on making it as easy as possible to get the vaccine, it will be very slow in the beginning.

The Gazette reports that as of today there are 1,097 providers signed up and approved to give out the vaccine through the Iowa Department of Public Health's COVID-19 strategy. There are a total of 64 providers in Linn and Johnson counties. Nearly all of the vaccine providers are associated with a health care provider. Area healthcare officials say that the federal government would cover the cost of administering the vaccine.

But as the Gazette points out, the real challenge could be storage. Pfizer's approved vaccine, which could be available to healthcare providers in early December, needs to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius. Not many providers have that kind of equipment. The Gazette reports that hospitals across the state have begun making preparations for the vaccine ever since the storage requirements were known.

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