DANVILLE — If you live or work in Vermilion County and want to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot, now is absolutely your chance.
“Really, if you are at the right age and medically able to get the vaccine, we’ll be happy to have you, with the state providing all these resources,” said Vermilion County Health Department Administrator Doug Toole.
The “right age” is 16 and older for the Pfizer vaccine and 18 and older for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
The state’s current eligibility tiers for COVID-19 vaccine include only adults 65 and older, health care workers, those under 65 with underlying health conditions and those who hold certain essential front-line jobs.
But Toole said there are vaccine appointments that need to be filled. So he’s encouraging all those who live or work in Vermilion County to sign up, as long as they fit the age requirement for the vaccine they receive.
“We could use more sign-ups,” he said.
The state sent Illinois National Guard members to Vermilion County this week, beginning Monday, to begin blanketing the county with vaccination help at multiple sites.
That includes three guard teams, each with six nurses administering the shots and 12 guard members doing the support work, such as checking people in, Toole said.
With help from the state, the Vermilion County Health Department plans to run vaccine clinics in the county six days a week, excluding Tuesdays, for the three weeks the National Guard members will be on hand, Toole said.
Coming with all the extra help are more vaccine shots.
On Tuesday, the county received 200 doses of Johnson & Johnson, all set for a March 21 clinic at McFerren Park Civic Center in Hoopeston.
Also arriving Tuesday were 2,000 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine, Toole said.
The county is projected to get 1,500 Thursday and 1,300 next week, all first doses, he said.
With the influx of vaccine and National Guard members help, Toole said, it’s going to take just weeks to accomplish what would have taken months.
He’s encouraging sign-ups now, because the county won’t be able to offer clinics at this level after the extra resources end, he said.
Still planned for this week is a second-dose clinic at the Fischer Theatre in downtown Danville, which will also be offering some first shots that were going to be given Thursday at Vermilion Regional Airport.
The Thursday clinic at the airport has been canceled due to rain and wind in the forecast. Those who were going to be vaccinated Thursday at the airport are being rescheduled for Friday and Saturday at the airport or at Thursday at Fischer Theater, Toole said.
Given out Monday were more than 400 doses of vaccine at Danville Area Community College and at several manufacturing sites, he said.
Coming up are three more vaccine clinics at the college set for Sunday, Monday and Wednesday, and three more clinics at the airport set for Thursday through Saturday.
Also planned for next week are vaccination clinics at New Life Church of Faith in Danville and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Westville.
While the county health department is stepping up vaccinations with the state’s help, Toole said Carle Health, OSF HealthCare and local pharmacies have also helped considerably in getting Vermilion County residents vaccinated.
“We have a lot of people helping with this,” he said.