MUSCATINE, Iowa–On April 5, the State of Iowa began allowing all residents ages 16 and up to begin getting COVID-19 vaccines. Three days later on April 8, Community Health Care hosted their first public vaccine clinic at UnityPoint Trinity Muscatine Hospital.
A Federally Qualified Health Center, Community Health Care receives COVID-19 vaccines through a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Health Resource and Service Administration program aimed to make vaccines more available, especially to those who may have difficulty accessing them. By cooperating with Trinity Muscatine Public Health, Community Health Care determined they could distribute their allotment to people ages 16 and up while Public Health continued the process of initiating and completing vaccination series for essential workers and people over 65-years-old, with assistance from the Hy-Vee Pharmacy.
Community Health Care received 400 doses of Moderna, which they distributed over the course of two days. Community Health Care set up their clinic in the lower level of UnityPoint Trinity Muscatine Hospital to allow for better social distancing among the approximately 200 patients they saw each day.
As Community Health Care began the work of getting vaccines to an even larger segment of the population, their Chief Executive Officer, Tom Bowman expressed excitement about offering more vaccine access. “This is a central component of our mission at CHC, to be able to leverage our resources to serve the communities where we operate,” he stated. “Muscatine has a great need, and we are pleased to be able to collaborate with other local partners to expand access.”
Muscatine community members who came to get their first doses shared his enthusiasm. “I think it’s a great idea–everyone should get it,” said Craig Durmeister shortly after receiving his vaccine.
Talking about her experience getting the vaccine, Mary Baars said she felt, “thrilled!” to receive her first dose and encouraged other to get theirs as well. “We have to do it to make the work healthier,” she emphasized.
The week of April 12, Community Health Care anticipates receiving an additional shipment of either 400 Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines with additional shipments to follow. As shipments arrive, they plan to host additional clinics, which anyone 16 and older may register for at the Community Health Care’s website.
With more vaccines for Muscatine County on the way, Bowman encourages all eligible people to sign up to get their vaccine now: “What we know is that vaccines work and are very effective. The supply has increased to make sure anyone who needs it should be able to get it, and people should not delay. We will not get back to normal until we reach herd immunity and we have a way to go before we start thinking we’re at that point. The virus is still circulating and still causing illness and death, so the faster we can get the populations vaccinated the better. Take advantage!”