Iowa Department of Human Rights Newsletter

iowa department of human rights

November 23, 2021

The Iowa Department of Human Rights (DHR) brings strength to Iowa's rich heritage.  Our three divisions - Community Action Agencies, Community Advocacy and Services, and Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning - work to reduce cultural, social, and economic barriers to opportunities for Iowans to succeed.

Booster shots available for everyone 18 and older

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has authorized boosters of the Pfizer  and  Moderna Covid-19 vaccines for all adults age 18 and over. Prior to this authorization, eligibility had been limited to individuals age 65 and older and those who lived or worked in high risk environments. Those who received a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are already eligible for a booster two months after their initial dose.  

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, to date, 74% of Iowans age 18 and over and 71% of Iowans age 12 and over have received at least one dose of the vaccine. With the recent authorization of the pediatric Pfizer vaccine, over 31,000 Iowans in the 5-11 age group have also received their first vaccine.

While fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can be infected with the virus, and there is no way to tell in advance if a child will get a severe or mild case. After a natural infection, some children have developed a rare but serious disease that is linked to COVID-19 called multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). Since the beginning of the pandemic, 63 cases of MIS-C have been reported to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

One month into flu season, the Iowa Department of Public Health urges Iowans to get their flu vaccines as soon as possible. Flu activity in the state is still low, but cases have increased in the last week. Both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from these viruses. By getting vaccinated for both influenza and COVID-19, we can prevent avoidable hospitalizations and help preserve health care resources for other needs, including illnesses, injuries and emergencies. Iowans with questions about vaccines for themselves or loved ones consult with their health care provider.

Getting vaccinated now will provide more protection in advance of winter holiday gatherings. Find vaccine providers and resources at and

Need help navigating health insurance?

The Health Insurance Marketplace ( is a service operated by the federal government that provides health plan shopping and enrollment services.  When you apply for individual and family coverage, you will provide income and household information to see if you qualify for Premium tax credits and other savings that make insurance more affordable, or if you qualify for coverage through the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Enroll by Wednesday, December 15 for coverage starting January 1, 2022.  Open Enrollment ends Saturday, January 15, 2022.

The Iowa Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) hosted a webinar with a presentation from Iowa Navigator.  Iowa Navigator is a free, non-profit program available to all in-state residents and offers free enrollment assistance with the Health Insurance Marketplace.  Watch the presentation here:  Youtube-Iowa Navigator 

Iowa Navigator

Utility Assistance Q & A Video

Thank you DHR staff Bill Marquess and Christine Taylor, and Iowa Community Action Association, for providing utility assistance information to Iowans.  Learn more about the programs on energy assistance, water assistance, and weatherization by watching the recorded presentation here:  Silver Linings: Older Iowans Facebook page.  

To apply for these programs, contact your local community action agency   

Iowa Women's Hall of Fame Video

In case you missed it, the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame video honoring the 2020 and 2021 inductees is available for viewing.  Watch it on the DHR Facebook page.  

COVID-19 Language Resources

American Sign Language Videos-CDC

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-Resources for Limited English Proficient Populations

Congolese Health Partnership Videos

Coronavirus, State Website

Crescent Community Health Center-Marshallese Language

EMBARC Ethnic Minorities of Burma and Advocacy and Resource Center

Hawaii Office of Language Access-Youtube

Iowa Department of Human Rights-Language Access

Iowa Department of Public Health

Iowa Spanish Helpline 515-344-3936 

Multi-Lingual Hotline  1-877-558-2609

Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa  

Test Iowa-Free COVID-19 Test Kits 

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Iowa Department of Human Rights
Lucas State Office Building
321 E 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
515-242-5640 or 1-800-351-4659
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