CORONAVIRUS

Linn County opens COVID vaccine call center, offers free rides to appointments

LIFTS provides free rides to appointments starting Monday

A Linn County LIFTS vehicles pick up clients in Cedar Rapids in this 2001 photo. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
A Linn County LIFTS vehicles pick up clients in Cedar Rapids in this 2001 photo. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Linn County agencies are offering free rides to COVID-19 vaccine appointments and guidance to older residents on local distribution.

Starting Monday, Linn County LIFTS is offering free rides to county residents who need assistance getting to their scheduled vaccine appointments.

Anyone traveling to or from a Linn County vaccine provider is eligible for transportation assistance, but individuals must have a scheduled or confirmed appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

The Linn County Board of Supervisors wrote in a statement on the county’s website it hopes to ensure no barriers, especially the lack of transportation, prevent residents from getting vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

Rides are available 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Requests for rides must be made at least 24 hours in advance of the appointment.

To request transportation, county residents can contact LIFTS by calling (319) 892-5170 or by emailing lifts@linncounty.org.

Linn County residents with questions about their eligibility to receive a vaccine or about scheduling a vaccine appointment can contact the Linn County Public Health COVID-19 vaccine call center at (319) 892-6097.

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Across the state, Area Agencies on Aging — including the Heritage Area Agency on Aging based in Cedar Rapids — have been tasked with answering questions on COVID-19 vaccine scheduling and transportation.

Heritage on Friday said it will work with county public health departments to share information on dose allocation.

The agency’s service region includes Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn and Washington counties.

Heritage can help direct older Iowans to resources to help get to their COVID-19 vaccine appointments, including transportation, as well as to other resources to help answer their questions about the status of the distribution effort in Iowa.

Older adults can contact their Area Agency on Aging by calling 1-866-468-7887.

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

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