CORONAVIRUS

Cedar Rapids free clinic opens COVID vaccine waitlist to anyone 65 and older via phone, mail

Seniors struggling to get an appointment online can call clinic

Syringes are seen prepared along with bandages to give doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to health care work
Syringes are seen prepared along with bandages to give doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to health care workers at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City on Dec. 14, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids’ free medical clinic has established a waitlist for older Iowans struggling to get a COVID-19 vaccine appointment online.

Starting Wednesday, Iowans 65 and older can call the Community Health Free Clinic at (319) 200-2550 to add their name to a list of people interested in obtaining a vaccine from the clinic’s providers. People do not have to be patients at the clinic to receive a shot.

As the clinic receives its weekly allocations of COVID-19 vaccines, officials there will call people on the waitlist and schedule an appointment to be vaccinated.

Community Health Free Clinic CEO Darlene Schmidt said the clinic’s goal in establishing a dedicated phone line is to help reach seniors who are struggling to get a COVID-19 shot over the past few weeks.

COVID-19 vaccines are available at various providers across the state, including local public health departments, doctor’s offices and retail pharmacies.

However, many older Iowans have criticized this vaccine distribution plan, which typically requires eligible Iowans to schedule an appointment online on a first-come, first-served basis. Seniors who don’t have internet access or lack the technical skills needed to track down an appointment online are often unable to get one.

Clinic officials are still asking for patience from people on their waitlist. Schmidt said the Community Health Free Clinic only receives about 50 doses per week, but that allocation is expected to increase in the coming weeks as the vaccine becomes more widely available.

To add their name to the free medical clinic’s vaccine waitlist, people should call (319) 200-2550.

The phone line will be open Monday through Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m.

Callers will need to have the following information available to add their name to the clinic’s waitlist:

Legal name

Date of birth

Address

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. The clinic’s address is 947 14th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids 52401.

Comments: (319) 398-8469; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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