Winnebago County Health Department expects COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in next few weeks

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Dr. Sandra Martell said the Winnebago County Health Department is making a plan to begin distribution of a coronavirus vaccine, which could be available as early as the second or third week of December.

Martell said the WCHD has been working with many local organizations and healthcare providers on the vaccine rollout.

The first individuals eligible for the vaccine would be pharmacists, first responders and emergency personnel.

After the medical infrastructure is vaccinated, long-term facilities, correctional facilities, shelters, and congregate living facilities would be among the second group, officials said.

In the second phase, adults with high risk conditions would become eligible, and zip codes that see a higher mortality rate would be a priority.

Following that, the vaccine would be made available to everyone.

The vaccine is expected to be available for free, although health experts said a clinic could charge an insurance provider for an administration fee, but that cost would be waived if the patient is unable to afford it.

Health officials said they conducted a survey of residents’ willingness to receive a vaccine, and said 23% of people said they had safety concerns.

The vaccines by Pfizer, Moderna and Astra-Zeneca have shown to be over 90% effective against the virus.

Medical officials said that with every day that goes by, more and more safety data becomes available, and they are learning areas of concern and where they can educate the public.

Dr. Martell says the Illinois Department of Public Health has an overall plan for statewide vaccine distribution, and counties must fit into that plan, adding that counties outside Winnebago may have a different plan.

Martell said there were 183 new cases of COVID-19 in Winnebago County reported today, for a total of 17,538.

Four people died overnight, with a total of 242 dead to date.

There are currently 166 people in the hospital for coronavirus, which Martell said was down from 193 last week.

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara thanked local businesses for following Governor JB Pritzker’s mitigation orders “and protecting the community.”

McNamara said out of 293 inspections, the city’s Code Enforcement team gave education to 46, notice of non-compliance to 54, and notices to disperse to 10 businesses.

The mayor encouraged residents to order online from locally-owned retail shops and utilize curbside pickup.

“No one likes to do this,” he said, but added that mitigations work if everyone follows them.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 11,378 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 155 additional deaths.

The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from November 18 – November 24, 2020 is 12.2%.

Region 1’s 7-day rolling positivity average: 15.8% (16.3% yesterday)

Boone: 22.2% (22.8% yesterday)
Carroll: 13.6% (17.8 % yesterday)
DeKalb: 11.5% (12.1% yesterday)
Jo Daviess: 13.5% (16.1% yesterday)
Lee: 16% (15.4% yesterday)
Ogle: 16.2% (17.4% yesterday)
Stephenson: 17% (15.4 % yesterday)
Whiteside: 19.2% (19.4% yesterday)
Winnebago: 15.8% (16.1% yesterday)

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