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What Iowans 65+ can expect from new 211 vaccine call center available March 9

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JOHNSTON, Iowa (KWWL) -- During Gov. Kim Reynolds' COVID-19 press conference on Wednesday, more details were provided on the upcoming 211 vaccine resource available for older Iowans.

In March of 2020, just as COVID-19 was beginning to spread in Iowa, the state used the 211 resource to provide information about the virus and answer questions. Now it is transitioning into a vaccine resource tool for older Iowans.

Reynolds said starting Tuesday, March 9th, Iowans 65 and older will be able to contact the 211 call center to schedule a vaccine appointment at a Hy-Vee pharmacy. The call center is meant for older Iowans who don't have the ability to make an appointment online. The service will be available in over 150 languages and accessible to people with disabilities.

Melissa McCoy, director of the 211 call center, explained the process during the press conference.

McCoy says that 'Vaccine Navigators' will ask callers for their full name, birthdate, phone number, and email address if they have one available. The Vaccine Navigator will work with the caller to schedule both their first and second dose appointments at a Hy-Vee pharmacy that is most convenient to them.

When scheduling, Vaccine Navigators will not know which vaccine the individual will get, but that information will be given at the appointment.

Callers will receive the date, time, and Hy-Vee pharmacy location of their appointment. McCoy says individuals should plan to arrive at the appointment at least 10 minutes early and bring their Medicare or insurance card if possible. There is no cost to the individual receiving the vaccine.

Callers will not be able to reschedule or cancel appointments through 211, and must do so through that specific Hy-Vee pharmacy. Vaccine Navigators will give the number of the pharmacy during the call. They will also be able to direct callers to transportation resources if needed.

The 211 service is not taking vaccine scheduling calls yet but will begin on Tuesday, March 9.

RELATED: Gov. Reynolds receives Johnson & Johnson vaccine, U of I doctor explains why it is safe