Several Southern Illinois health departments released statements commenting on the slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
The Washington County Health Department posted on its Facebook on Tuesday that while the area has moved on to vaccinated 1B, the number has not been quick to meet demand.
“Vaccine continues to trickle in much slower than we would like,” the post said. “Although the common category in Phase 1B is those individuals age 65 years and older, there are also certain essential employees that are outlined in the Illinois Vaccination Plan in which we must incorporate into our plans. These employees include education through 12th grade, manufacturing, postal workers, grocery store workers, and agricultural workers involved with processing and animal services. This is an incredibly large group in our county.”
The health department said it will continue to handle as many appointments as they can but the list is growing exponentially, and patience is needed until more doses can be retrieved. The department is continuing to work through a list of names that had been collected before Jan. 13.
“Our list has expanded to approximately 3,000 people at this time, including about 1000 qualifying essential workers,” the department continued. “Additional vaccine has been requested to move forward more quickly through the vaccination process; however this request has not yet been approved by IDPH, as they are also working with limited vaccine to allocate. The ordering process is very controlled in quantities as the supply is very limited at this time. We understand that the community is anxious to get vaccine in the arms of our residents, and that media coverage of seemingly large clinics in surrounding areas fuels frustration with the speed of our vaccine administration, and we ask for patience.”
The remarks are similar to pleas for nearby health departments. Marion County Health Department said on Jan. 30 that: “Several mass vaccination clinics for Group 1B. The health department will be alternating clinic sites each week between Centralia and Salem. We are working from our waiting list for these clinics. “
In Jefferson County, the health department announced that Kroger Pharmacy in Mt. Vernon has started vaccinations by appointment. While slots are filled for the current week, representatives have told the Jefferson County Health Department that the public is welcomed to keep checking the link to see if any times become available. The COVID-19 vaccinations are for individuals in groups 1A and 1B only.
Individuals can also still sign up online for the vaccination clinics SSM is having at ssmhealth.com
Clinton County Health Department has also set up a form on its Facebook page for citizens to sign up for the registry.