Cherokee County COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center Established
Limited Supply Available for Phase 1-B Vaccination Clinic Scheduled for Friday, February 5th
The Cherokee County Public Health Department has learned they are scheduled to receive a very limited supply of COVID- 19 vaccine doses this week. Assuming that they do receive their allocation from the state as planned, the first Phase 1-B vaccination clinic is slated to take place on Friday, February 5th.
However, because there will not be enough vaccine available to administer to all of those in Phase 1-B, the vaccination process remains highly targeted to those individuals meeting the top tier criteria established within the Phase 1-B priority population group. This includes individuals aged 65 and older, as well as essential workers in PK-12 education, early childhood education, and childcare within Cherokee County.
According to Cherokee County Public Health Supervisor, Judy Stowater, RN, these population groups where determined by Iowa’s Infectious Disease Advisory Council (IDAC) after reviewing guidance issued by the CDC’s advisory group the Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
“The recommendations for vaccine use are based on knowledge of which populations are being most severely affected by the virus, and which populations are most likely to acquire or spread the virus,” explained Stowater. “In addition, per IDPH guidelines the next allocation will need to be split between the age 65 and older population group and the essential worker population groups as identified in Phase 1-B Tier 1.”
To accommodate the scheduling process for Friday’s and future COVID-19 vaccination clinics, Cherokee County Public Health has established a COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center. Beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 4, 2021, people that fall into the age 65 and older population group are encouraged to call the COVID-19 Call Center at (712) 225-6897 to schedule a vaccination appointment for Friday’s clinic. Those falling into the Phase 1-B essential worker group consisting of PK-12 staff, childhood education staff, and childcare providers will receive instruction directly from Cherokee County Public Health on how to get scheduled for their vaccinations.
“Due to the very limited number of vaccine doses we are scheduled to receive in the next allotment, we determined that establishing a call center for the county residents that fall into the Phase 1-B age 65 and older population group would be the best way to start scheduling their vaccination appointments,” said Gary Jordan, CEO/President of Cherokee Regional Medical Center (Cherokee Regional). “In addition, we will be working directly with the area school districts and childcare providers to help them with their scheduling process.”
Jordan also explained that if you fall into the Phase 1-B age 65 and older population group, the call center is the only way to get scheduled for a vaccination at this time. “Don’t assume that if you are on a list at a doctor’s office, public health, or any other entity, that you are scheduled for a vaccination,” said Jordan. “The only way to get scheduled for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at this time is by contacting our COVID- 19 Call Center.” Jordan did mention that as more vaccines become available, and the eligible population groups are expanded by IDPH, additional options such as online scheduling will become available to help streamline the process.
Kent Lundquist, VP of Development and Support Services/ Public Relations at Cherokee Regional echoed Jordan and Stowater’s comments, “Cherokee Regional Medical Center and Cherokee County Public Health will continue to work together to simplify the scheduling process and update the public about vaccine availability and upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinics.”
Everyone is encouraged to monitor various media sources for updates including local area newspapers, KCHE radio, Cherokee Regional’s Facebook page, the Cherokee Regional website- www.cherokeermc.org, and other forms of communication throughout Cherokee County communities. “Please do not call Cherokee Regional Medical Center, the Cherokee County Public Health office, or your provider for more information, as they are not staffed to handle the heavy call volumes generated and will not be able to schedule you for vaccination,” reiterated Lundquist.
Again, anyone falling into the Phase 1-B age 65 and older population group that is interested in scheduling an appointment for the February 5, 2021 COVID- 19 vaccination clinic needs to call (712) 225-6897 starting at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 4, 2021. Keep in mind Cherokee County Public Health will have a very limited supply and this clinic date will fill up appointments quickly. Additional clinics will be scheduled in the following weeks as more vaccine becomes available.