On Wednesday, the Sangamon County Department of Public Health announced a COVID-19 "beta test" of a mass vaccination program.
A new online dashboard has also been launched, tracking the number of vaccinations given in the county. As of Wednesday afternoon, it showed that 9,443 initial doses had been given, which is a little more than 6% of the total goal.
A 32-page plan outlines the projected schedule through February 1. On Jan. 18, the county is slated to begin offering the vaccine to people 65 years and older. The plan also includes a FAQ section outlining general information about the vaccine's safety and practicalities regarding distribution.
The first group to be given vaccines includes health care personnel and those in long-term care settings.
Going forward, vaccine clinics will be operating seven days per week in Sangamon County. A drive-thru clinic will be operating by Tuesday, Jan. 19 in the SCDPH parking lot (2833 S. Grand Ave E.) Vaccines will also be given inside the building, and patients will be monitored for at least 15 minutes afterward.
Both versions of available vaccines currently available require two doses, separated by either 21 or 28 days. For now, vaccines are accessible by appointment only.
Vaccines will be distributed over the course of many months, according to the plan. Gail O'Neill, director of SCDPH, previously told Illinois Times it could be March before vaccines are available to the general public. The county is administering the vaccine to various priority groups in phases, based on guidance from the state and federal government. SCDPH is aiming to vaccinate 150,000 county residents total to reach herd immunity.
According to the plan released Wednesday, "Scheduling appointments is accomplished through the 24/7 on-line appointment scheduling process on the SCDPH website or by calling the SCDPH COVID hotline at 217-321-2606 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on regular business days."
The plan also addresses how area health providers and other community organizations are working together to inform the public about the vaccine, particularly communities of color who have historically been mistreated by the government and medical field.
Contact Rachel Otwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.