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Multilingual call line set up in Polk County to help schedule vaccine appointments

The Iowa Multilingual COVID-19 Phone Line (877-558-2609) is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

DES MOINES, Iowa — For immigrants and refugees in Iowa, the Iowa Multilingual COVID-19 Phone Line (877-558-2609) is available to help with vaccine questions and scheduling appointments.

Staff with Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa said the biggest issue is the language barrier.

“The reason I’m suggesting we have a call line is we are having people come in here and they have limited English. Scheduling those appointments is written in English," said Eddah Bunei, supervisor for Refugee Connection. "Technology is another issue. We would like to make everything easier for our community.”

Bunei is an immigrant from Kenya, and said four staff members help interpret over 15 different languages.

As of Thursday, the hotline is for those that live in Polk County.

You can call the hotline from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The line's voicemail is open 24 hours a day.

Nola Aigner Davis with the Polk County Health Department told Local 5 they secured a grant tailored to the specific needs of ethnic communities. 

So far, they have trained 20 interpreters to help in their communities.

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