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UPDATE: Salvation Army Free Clinic to begin distribution of Johnson and Johnson vaccine again

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UPDATE (4/27/21):

UnityPoint Health - Allen Hospital confirmed to KWWL Tuesday that Johnson & Johnson vaccines will begin to be administered again at the Salvation Army at these times this week:

  • Wednesday 1 to 5 p.m.
  • Thursday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Drive-thru available 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

No appointment is needed.


Original story:

UPDATE: As of Tuesday morning, due to the CDC and FDA's joint statement on recommending the pause of the Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, UnityPoint Health - Allen Hospital has confirmed they will hold off with this week's free clinic to administer the J&J vaccine to the homeless until further notice.

Allen Hospital was to provide the J&J vaccine shots for the homeless and underserved this Wednesday and Thursday.

This is a developing story, so stay with KWWL for further updates on what alternatives will become available.

WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) -- For the very first time this week, the free clinic located inside the Salvation Army is offering Covid-19 vaccinations for the homeless and others less-fortunate in Waterloo & Cedar Falls.

Being homeless can create problems for healthcare providers, from not having a stable home address to having no internet access, making it difficult for them to schedule appointments online.

For healthcare providers like The Allen College Engagement and Salvation Army Partnership, or better known as ACE-SAP, their relationships with their patients helped them quickly realize there was a broken system in getting the underserved community their vaccine shots.

Ruselle Debonis, ACE-SAP Free Clinic Coordinator, said, "A lot of times our folks are trying to pursue other things like putting food on the table or paying rent at the end of the week. Having the ability and time to pursue the vaccine is not readily available to them, and so that's why I wanted to make it as easy as possible for them and accommodate them."

As a way to make accommodations for the highly vulnerable population, the clinic advocated for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be administered, in order to streamline the process.

Unity Point Allen College reached out to Debonis and ACE-SAP asking for the free clinic's help with getting the vaccines out to the underserved community. They helped procure around 175 J&J shots to accommodate those with existing appointments, as well as walk-ins and family members.

Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcomed.

The free clinic will be offering the J&J vaccine starting Wednesday, April 14th, as well as Thursday, April 15th from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. during their Food Pantry. They will also be open the following Thursday, April 22nd.

For anyone who would like to help someone in need of the vaccine and does not have access to affordable healthcare, contact Russ Debonis at 319-226-2022 or call the clinic at 319-235-9558 to schedule their appointment.

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Dani Miskell

Weekend Anchor & Reporter

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