116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - In the first month of opening a waitlist for anyone struggling to get a COVID-19 vaccine, Cedar Rapids' free medical clinic has received hundreds of calls from residents seeking an appointment.
Late last month, the Community Health Free Clinic announced anyone who qualifies for a vaccine in Iowa could be added to the list to receive a vaccine sometime in the future. With the state's expanded guidelines, that now includes anyone below the age of 65 with underlying medical conditions as well as those aged 65 and older.
As of Tuesday, the Community Health Free Clinic has received 755 calls, officials said.
And now, the effort to distribute those doses is underway at the Cedar Rapids-based facility. On Tuesday, free clinic officials vaccinated 100 individuals. They'll give shots to 50 more individuals later this week.
According to CEO Darlene Schmidt, the majority of patients Tuesday were those with underlying chronic conditions.
They still are seeing sign-ups from those aged 65 and older, who have been eligible to receive a vaccine in Iowa since Feb. 1. Schmidt said they plan to keep the line open 'until the phone doesn't ring.”
And they're still accepting names for their waiting list, officials at the free clinic said. Those interested in signing up for a vaccine at the Cedar Rapids site should call (319) 200-2550, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For some residents, including Cedar Rapids couple Dave and Linda Jandik, the call-in option for scheduling appointments was one of the only ways to find a vaccine in a timely manner.
Retail pharmacies offering the vaccine have patients schedule online, and as a result more tech-savvy individuals have snatched up appointments before others can. Some Iowans, including seniors, have criticized the online-only format, which leaves behind those who lack internet access or otherwise lack the skills to use the websites.
Public health and health care providers continue to ask for patience, as the vaccine supply still is lower than demand.
That didn't stop the Jandiks, who said they checked pharmacy websites daily but had no luck. They were eager to find appointments as Linda, 74, is immunocompromised as a result of her rheumatoid arthritis.
'The doctors have already told me if I get (COVID-19), I probably won't survive it,” she said.
She and her husband, who is 70, also were on the waiting list for a vaccine with their health care providers when their chiropractor suggested they call the Community Health Free Clinic. They got their appointment within two weeks.
The pair have been diligent about following social-distancing guidelines, they said, not venturing outside the house much except to pick up groceries. But even with the vaccine, Dave said they're still considering their next steps with caution.
'I don't think (our routine) will change much until we get the second shot,” he said.
'Even after that, I think we'll still be very, very careful because nobody seems to really have all the answers about whether you can get (COVID-19) after you have the shots or the new strains that are coming in.”
Those interested in the Community Health Free Clinic's waiting list should have the following information when calling:
' Legal name
' Date of birth
' Two phone numbers where the clinic can reach them
' Their mother's maiden name.
People also can mail their information to the Community Health Free Clinic, or drop it into the dropbox outside the building, at 947 14th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids 52401.
Comments: (319) 398-8469; firstname.lastname@example.org