How can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines are now ready and being made available in phases, based on guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Eligible for the vaccine? UI Health Care will contact you when your dose is ready

Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Iowa Department of Public Health, we are working on plans to begin vaccinating our eligible patients in Phase 1b who are age 75 and older.

We are not taking appointments for vaccinations. If you are a UI Health Care patient and eligible for the vaccine, you will be contacted through your MyChart account or by phone. We do not have a waitlist for the vaccine.

Have more questions? Check out our FAQ:

Learn about who will get the vaccines first, how the phases of availability are being decided, and what you can do to find out when you might expect to be eligible to get vaccinated.

When will the vaccines be available to the general public?

The vaccines are being made available to Iowans in phases that are determined by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH).

The first phase, called phase 1a, made the vaccine available to health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities. The next phase, phase 1b, will begin in February and will focus on people age 65 and older and people whose jobs or living conditions put them at high risk of being infected.

As more of the vaccines become available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and IDPH will continue to prioritize additional groups of people for eligibility. 

For more information on vaccine availability, return to this page regularly. It will be updated as more information becomes available.

You can also visit the IDPH website for COVID-19 vaccination information. People who don’t have internet access can get information about the COVID-19 vaccines by calling IDPH at 2-1-1.

Who decides when the vaccines will be available to the general public?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State of Iowa determine who gets the vaccine.

The vaccines are being made available in phases. People who need the vaccine sooner are included in earlier phases. The CDC and the State of Iowa will provide guidance on who will belong to each phase of vaccinations.

UI Health Care will continue to update this section with more information on availability as guidance regarding the phased distribution is updated.

What groups are included in the current distribution phase?

The first phase, called phase 1a, made the vaccine available to health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities. The next phase, phase 1b, will begin in February and will focus on people age 65 and older and people whose jobs or living conditions put them at high risk of being infected.

Because of limited vaccine availability, UI Health Care is starting vaccines in this phase with those who are age 75 or older or are in critical county job functions and will expand to more groups as additional doses become available.

When the COVID-19 vaccine is available, how can I find out if it’s recommended that I get vaccinated?

For any questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and how it relates to your medical condition or history, contact your primary care provider.

Is a vaccine available to people of all ages?

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is authorized for people age 16 and older. The Moderna vaccine is only of people age 18 and older.

Neither vaccine is authorized for children younger than 16.

How much will it cost to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once available?

Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccine providers may charge an administration fee, covered by most insurance, or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.

Can I walk in for my vaccination?

No. If you are eligible for vaccination and you are a UI Health Care patient, we will contact you to schedule your appointment when your dose of the vaccine is ready. You will be notified through your MyChart account or by phone call.

If you don’t have a MyChart account, you can sign up for your free account.

What safety measures are taken at vaccination sites?

Vaccination sites will provide space for social distancing and will require that face masks be worn. We ask that only the patient attend the appointment whenever possible. We recognize that some patients will require assistance and exceptions will be allowed in those cases. Patients will be asked to wait in their vehicles until the time of their appointment to further support social distancing and a streamlined process.

Patients will be required to remain at the vaccination site to be monitored for 15 to 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine to monitor for any adverse reactions. In the rare event of a reaction, medically trained staff will be readily available onsite to manage these reactions.

How are staff trained and prepared to handle reactions?

Our medical personnel are trained and prepared to deal with any allergy or medical concerns in the rare event of a reaction.

I am a UI Health Care patient; can I get my COVID-19 vaccine from you?

UI Health Care is first prioritizing vaccinations of eligible patients in phase 1b who are age 75 and older. We are planning now for those vaccinations and will be contacting eligible patients as vaccinations become available. Keep in mind doses continue to be limited in availability and it will take time to accommodate all who are eligible.

At this point, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has not expanded vaccine availability to other groups beyond phase 1b.

I am not a UI Health Care patient; can you give me the vaccine?

If you are not a UI Health Care patient, a webform will be available on Feb. 1, 2021 to express your interest in receiving the vaccine through UI Health Care. Please revisit our website on Feb. 1 or later to provide this information so that you may be contacted when you are eligible to receive a vaccine.

In the meantime, you can contact your primary care provider for guidance.

Per the recent Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) announcement, I am not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. How do I get vaccinated?

Supplies of the vaccine are limited and given only to certain groups who are at greatest risk. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has indicated it wants to get everyone in the state vaccinated as soon as possible, but it will take time. For updates, check out our COVID-19 vaccine resources.

When the COVID-19 vaccine is available to me, how do I know if it is recommended that I get vaccinated?

For any questions about how the COVID-19 vaccine specifically relates to your own medical condition or history, please contact your primary care provider.

I have an appointment coming up and am eligible. Can my doctor give me the vaccine then?

No. Vaccine doses are limited, and there are not enough to enable all of our clinics to give the vaccine. You will be notified through MyChart or by phone when you are eligible to be vaccinated.

How do I complete the vaccine interest form if I do not have access to the internet?

If you do not have internet access, call us at 1-319-384-8819 for assistance in registering your interest in receiving the vaccine.

How will we include all members of our community, including underrepresented minorities?

We are working with Johnson County Public Health and community partners to be responsible and inclusive with our vaccine distribution.

If I’m already a MyChart user and I fit the criteria to be vaccinated, do I still need to complete the interest form?

No. If you already are a MyChart user and meet the criteria to be vaccinated in Phase 1b you are already in our system. You may choose to express your interest through your MyChart account or the online interest form, but this is not a required step for you.

Can spouses/family members be vaccinated at the same time?

Due to limited vaccine availability, we will only be able to vaccinate the individual who has an appointment scheduled with UI Health Care at this time.

If I am a UI Health Care patient and have received my COVID-19 vaccine elsewhere, do I need to decline the vaccination in MyChart or let my provider know?

While it is not a requirement, we do ask that you decline interest in your MyChart account.

I am eligible in Phase 1b and have other comorbidities. Can my provider fill out a form to prioritize me to receive the vaccine?

Eligibility for vaccination is determined by criteria set by the Iowa Department of Public Healthy. In Phases 1a and 1b, comorbidities are not a prioritization.

I am not over the age of 65 but am eligible in Phase 1b through the other special populations. Can I receive the vaccine now?

UI Health Care is working with Johnson County Public Health to determine our role in vaccinated those who are eligible in Phase 1b. We'll be sharing information with these groups as we have it available.

I have never received care through UI Health Care but am eligible in Phase 1b. Can I still receive the vaccine from UI Health Care?

You can sign up for a free MyChart account and express your interest through your account. If you are not interested in registering for an account, you can express your interest through our online interest form.

If I am not yet eligible for the vaccine, is there a waiting list I can join for any excess doses that might become available on short notice?

There is not currently a waiting list for COVID-19 vaccinations.

How can I stay up to date on developments related to the COVID-19 vaccine? How will I know when I am eligible for vaccination?

You can stay up to date by visiting the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) website. If you do not have internet access, you can call IDPH with any general COVID-19 questions by calling 2-1-1. We also post updates on COVID-19 vaccinations as well.

The easiest way to find out when it’s time for your vaccination is through your MyChart account. When you become eligible for vaccination, we’ll send a MyChart message directly to you to schedule your appointment. If you don’t have your free MyChart account, you can sign up in just a few minutes.

If you don’t have a MyChart account, we will notify you by phone.

Last reviewed: 
February 2021

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