“We were told not to hold back”| Winnebago County receives delayed shipment of COVID vaccine

Local News

WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Ill. (WTVO) — Winnebago County Health Department Director, Doctor Sandra Martell, backed the process of how the county uses their allotted doses from the state.

On Tuesday, March 2nd, health systems in the county had to call thousands of residents to reschedule their second dose of the Moderna vaccine.

“We were told not to hold back,” Martell said. “I want to be clear that it was the understanding of the Winnebago County Health Department that we were to administer all available vaccine as first dose that we’ve received.”

Martell says the health department plans at least 48 hours in advance.

“We track week to week, day by day, so I know how many I have in house and how many I can do in the next 48 hours,” she explained.

Wednesday, March 3rd, the shipment did arrive in the county.

“We believed instruction from the state was not to have vaccine in freezer, we were told not to hold back that they would make sure we would receive second doses and they did,” Martell said.

The demand of shots in arms still outweighs the supply in Winnebago County.

“Our goal is to be able to vaccinate as many people as we can per day,” Martell said.

Rockford’s Mayor Tom McNamara defended Martell and her staff saying they didn’t miss anything when it came to shipping delays.

“We are ramping up vaccinations here locally and we are making progress,” he said.

That includes adding additional vaccination sites in the future.

“Planning continues to identify a site on the West side of Rockford to increase access for our communities of concern,” Martell said.

Health systems in the county have already started to call residents to reschedule their second dose appointments.

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