Illinois expanding vaccine eligibility in 5 Region 1 counties to battle possible coronavirus resurgence

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CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 12: Illinois gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker speaks to reporters at the Idas Legacy Fundraiser Luncheon on April 12, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The luncheon helps support the Ida B. Wells Legacy Committee which works to develop progressive female African-American political candidates. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has authorized Rapid Response Vaccination Teams to five counties in Region 1 to head off signs of a possible COVID-19 resurgence.

The Illinois Department of Public Health says it has seen vaccine demand slow in several counties, with unfilled appointments and increased vaccine inventory. IDPH says it is authorizing those communities to begin vaccinating all residents 16 and older immediately if doses are available.

“Mobile rapid response vaccination teams will deploy over the next two weeks in five counties in Region 1 where IDPH epidemiologists have determined there is a need to administer doses quickly to blunt increasing trends. These doses are on top of the allocation to the local health departments. These mobile teams will be providing single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to county residents. Appointments will be coordinated by the local health department,” the IDPH said Friday.

In addition to the mass vaccination site on Sandy Hollow Road in Rockford, Carroll, Ogle, Boone, Lee and Whiteside County will be allocated extra doses of vaccine.

Residents are urged to contact their local health department to schedule a vaccination appointment.

“The number one goal for the state is to get as many people vaccinated, as quickly and safely as possible in order to stay ahead of variants,” IDPH director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.  “This shift is similar to what we saw when expanding vaccine eligibility from Phase 1B to Phase 1B+ where some parts of the state were ready to move forward, while others were not.  Each county is different and local health departments know better how to vaccinate people in their communities as soon as and as equitably as possible.”

The COVID-19 test positivity on March 10 was 2.5%. Today’s reported test positivity is 3.3%.

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