Illinois to increase COVID-19 vaccine distribution in its southern region

CARBONDALE, Ill. (WSIL) — Governor JB Pritzker was in Carbondale Friday morning to discuss improving vaccine equity in Southern Illinois.

Thursday, the governor announced new guidelines for the state to re-open further, based on its vaccination metrics. Pritzker met with local health leaders and Illinois National Guard members at the Carbondale Civic Center, and was very positive about vaccination progress in the state and the Southern region.

“At this site alone the team has administered over 12,000 doses since opening about a month ago,” says Pritzker, on the clinic at the Civic Center, adding to the grand total of more than 31,000 doses in Jackson County alone since the Guard deployed.

Those numbers are only expected to increase as more vaccine supply makes its way to Illinois.

“This week, more than 800,000 doses were delivered to Illinois,” says Pritzker. “An eight times increase compared to our first delivery back in December. And that number will likely surpass one-million doses per week in April.”

While the Governor did not directly address any inequities in vaccine distributions, Jackson County Health Department administrator Bart Hagston says, communities of color are less vaccinated, and they’re addressing more ways to remedy that.

“I think the governor is very concerned about not only the geographic distribution of the vaccine, but also getting vaccine into communities of color and other underserved populations,” says Hagston. “So, we’re trying to do that here in Jackson County by working with some African American churches and other community groups.”

Other counties in the region are working towards those same goals, which Pritzker says comes with more Mobile Clinics the National Guard is helping to make possible. More than two dozen mobile clinics operate in the state, eight of those are in its southern region. Hagston says, additional clinics will have an impact as qualifications for vaccinations lift.

“Wherever we can go to reach people that may not be able to make it here to our fixed sites, we’re going to be working our way up to getting out there,” says Hagston.

Governor Pritzker says the State is “on the verge” of reaching Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan, a move that will be “based on the data.” He says, “Although the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter, we’re not there yet.”

Illinois has administered over 4.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Pritzker. More than 28 percent of adults are vaccinated, including more than 605 of seniors, 65-and-over.

Residents who don’t have access to or need assistance navigating online services can call the toll-free IDPH hotline at 833-621-1284 to book an appointment. The hotline is open 7 days a week from 6 am to midnight with agents available in English and Spanish.

Illinois Department of Public Health

View News 3’s Local Vaccine Information page to locate a Vaccination Clinic near you, and view the Interactive COVID-19 Tracker for updates on the numbers in your region.

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