Illinois expanding vaccine eligibility, Rock Island Co Health Dept. ready

(Rock Island County, IL) -- More Illinois residents will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine in April.

On Thursday, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that Illinois residents outside of Chicago age sixteen and older will be able to get the vaccine starting April 12th.

The date comes as the Rock Island County Health Department is working to finish vaccinating those in phase 1A, 1B, and 1B+.

Health department leaders say they’re prepared to welcome more Illinoisans into the clinic. “The last time we switched from phase 1A to 1B there was a big surge in interest so we understand folks are quite eager to get the vaccine. So we may get bogged down quite a bit but with this facility behind me, we have got a lot of capacity,” says Janet Hill, Chief Operating Officer at the Rock Island County Health Department.

The Milan vaccine clinic runs six days per week. “It’s designed to do about 1,000 people per day. Our vaccine supply has been ramping up because the state has been trying to be as efficient as possible. So we are able to do about 6,000, 7,000 people a week as long as we get the vaccine and we are getting closer to that goal,” says Hill.

Governor Pritzker and the local health department encourage people to keep wearing masks, social distancing, and take whatever COVID-19 vaccine is first available to them in order to resume normalcy. “The light that we can see at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter as more people get vaccinated. I am more optimistic today than I have been at any time over the last year,” says Pritzker.

You can find more information on the expanded eligibility in Illinois here.

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