Winnebago County Health Department warns not to skip second COVID vaccine dose

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Millions of Americans are skipping their second vaccine dose.

The CDC says 5 million people haven’t gone back for a second shot. Locally, the numbers are better but Winnebago County Health Director Sandra Martell says it’s still happening here.

“You’ve got a greater chance of contracting COVID illness if you’re not fully protected,” said Dr. Martell.

Despite consistent urging from health leaders, millions of Americans are skipping their second vaccine dose. The CDC says about 8% of those who got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine don’t return.

“It’s a nationwide, statewide, except for a couple of counties in the state, we are all looking at this vaccine hesitancy,” explained Dr. Martell.

Here in Winnebago County, 1% of Pfizer and 4% of Moderna patients aren’t following up. Martell says it’s a concerning trend, but she’s just as worried about people who are avoiding the vaccine altogether.

“We are all working to figure out how do I get the next group of individuals who have not vaccinated yet because I’ve got to get those numbers down if I want to get 70-80% of my population vaccinated, less chance to vary, how do I get them there,” she explained.

Martell says several factors are contributing to vaccine hesitancy, such as the recent pause in the administration of the J&J shot and whether or not it is convenient and easy for people to receive their dose.

“We kinda just thought maybe the only thing we haven’t figured out is do you just want to walk in? Spontaneity- do you want to just get in there?” said Martell. “Maybe you have a half-hour on a Sunday afternoon that you hadn’t really thought about having it before that you could pop in and get it done.”

Sunday evening, the health department held their first walk-in vaccine clinic at the site on Sandy Hollow. Residents were able to receive their shots without scheduling an appointment.

“We’re really looking at different strategies, whether we incentivize, whether we do some contests, whether we do it with co-locate some events and activities that, you know, different outreach strategies. What are we kind of going about?”

Tuesday, they’ll be back at the site for a similar event from Noon to 4:00 p.m. The event is for those ages 16 and up. Photo ID is required.

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