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Volunteers offer food boxes and vaccines in Iowa City

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) - County leaders and a team of volunteers gave away boxes of nutritious food to people in need Thursday and offered them a COVID-19 vaccine.

"We wanted to open it up for people to come forward and get the shot. I didn't want anyone turned away," County Supervisor Royceann Porter said.

Porter organized the event as a food giveaway at first, but with vaccines becoming more readily available, she decided to double it as a vaccine clinic.

"I went downstairs and talked to Sam Jarvis (community health manager for Johnson County) and asked him if we could do a vaccine clinic," Porter said.

With demand of vaccines dropping dramatically over the last month, many counties have talked about holding "targeted" vaccine clinics to reach people who still haven't gotten a shot. Organizers of today's event said this was one of those targeted events, because there was likely an overlap between people experiencing food insecurity and those who've struggled to get vaccine appointments.

"The whole concept of it being accessible is just awesome," Yadi Gallegos said, who drove with her husband for his vaccine. Her husband got the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Gallegos says it had been difficult to find appointments up until recently.

"I was there checking every morning to see if there was any availability," she said.

The volunteers handed out 1,188 boxes of food Thursday. KWWL reached out to Johnson County Public Health Thursday night for a total number of vaccinations but didn't hear back.

Each person who got their first dose of a vaccine at the event was scheduled for a follow-up appointment.

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Travis Breese

Reporter, Iowa City

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