CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - (Iowa's News Now) — Iowa's News Now is continuing to work toward answers for some Iowans who are unable to schedule a vaccination through Iowa 2-1-1.
The service began helping Iowans 65 and older schedule those appointments last week, yet some people say when they called they were met with an automated message that a phone number was disconnected. The problem appeared to impact only the landline of Terry and Harriet Van Guilder.
United Way of Central Iowa is now addressing the issue, sending this statement:
In January 2020, United Way of Central Iowa (UWCI) assumed 211 operation for 42 counties in East Central and Eastern Iowa. These 42 counties had previously been covered by HACAP through a contract agreement with the United Way in Cedar Rapids. When HACAP operated 211 in those counties they used the 319.294.0423 number as an alternative option for people who weren’t able to connect by dialing 211 from a landline or cell phone. This happens from time to time due to phone carrier issues. The 319 number was published on 211 material as an alternate number. IDPH did add the 800 number on the materials it has pushed out as an alternative number to 211.
When UWCI assumed 211 operation for these 42 counties the 319 number was automatically routed to an 800 number (800.244.7431) to ensure residents would not incur any costs in reaching 211. Essentially if people called the 319 number during this transition time they’d automatically be connected to 211 through the 800 number. The 319 number was operational for over a year to provide a transition period for 211 materials to be updated with the 800# which now serves as the alternative number for people who use a landline or a cell phone won’t connect by dialing 211. This information was shared across all counties that would have been impacted.
Our assumption is that the individuals in this article have outdated material and may have never received communication on the change to the 800#. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused. I would be curious to know who their landline carrier is to help trouble shoot their issues.
Again, we apologize for the inconvenience and confusion. We haven’t encountered many who still have the 319# but we are glad you brought this to our attention so we can work with communities to ensure residents know they can now simply dial 211 or the 800#.
Iowa 2-1-1's vaccine coordinators can help facilitate vaccinations with Iowans 65 and older, but the service is available to anyone with questions about COVID or community services.