State launches mass vaccination site in Rockford

Alonzo Osche

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – Gov. Pritzker announced the launch of two additional state-supported mass vaccination sites in Rockford and Collinsville on Monday.

The Rockford site will launch on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 1321 Sandy Hollow Rd. and will provide up to 1,350 doses per day at full capacity. Gov. Pritzker is also activating additional members of the Illinois National Guard to support Winnebago and Madison counties in standing up additional mobile vaccination sites to reach rural and underserved communities.

“My administration is committed to administering the COVID-19 vaccine in an efficient and equitable manner with a robust vaccine infrastructure in every corner of the state. These new mass vaccination sites and mobile teams will build on our partnership with local health departments and help ensure we administer doses as quickly as we receive them,” Pritzker said. “As the federal government works to continue to build up the vaccine supply, every Illinoisan can continue to do their part to fight this virus by following public health guidance and getting vaccinated when it is their turn to do so.”

Winnebago County Public Health Administrator Dr. Sandra Martell says the site will vaccinate members in phases 1A and 1B.

“It took an entire community to bring this to fruition,” Martell said.

Martell said they will vaccinate alongside the National Guard. She says this is a by appointment only clinic and the only person who can enter the facility is the person with an appointment. Martell says they did push out some appointments to people in phase 1A and they have already received notifications about appointments.

The COVID-19 positivity rate is now 3.1 percent in Winnebago County. Martell said they have administered more than 39,000 doses of the vaccine.

“Everyone in this room right now deserves a round of applause,” Winnebago County Board Chairperson Joe Chiarelli said. “To get vaccinated at this site you must be registered with the Winnebago County Health Department.”

General Alicia Tate-Nadeau from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency said the partnership between the state and county is how every partnership should work.

“What you’re seeing today is a fantastic example of a state county and local coalition coming together,” Tate Nadeau said.

Major General Richard Neeley with the Illinois National Guard says the members of the National Guard here are from all across Illinois.

“This is the 25th location that the National Guard is standing up in the state,” Neeley said. “At this particular location in Winnebago County, we will have 54 members providing vaccines.”

Neeley says there will be four teams here, two of which will have the potential to mobilize. He says this will help administer vaccines to people who have mobility problems.

“I was excited to be a part of it part of history,” Illinois National Guard member Donato Albanese said.

These sites build upon the state-supported mass vaccination infrastructure across the state with 14 state-supported mass vaccination sites now operating in Illinois. This is in addition to the state’s mobile vaccination teams which are deployed statewide to reach rural and underserved communities. As of Feb. 21, there were approximately 1,015 Illinois National Guard service members assisting with COVID-19 response throughout Illinois with the number of guard members activated expected to increase as the state-assisted sites grow.

These mass and mobile vaccinations sites are managed through an interagency effort led by Gov. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health, coordinated by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and supported by the Illinois National Guard. State supported mass vaccination sites listed below are open to all Illinois residents, who meet the current eligibility requirements and have an appointment through the local health department.

Mobile teams currently support the Cook County Department of Public Health, Eastside Health District in St. Clair County, Sangamon County Department of Public Health and Jackson County Health Department. Additional mobile teams will deploy to both Winnebago County and Madison County over the next few weeks. These teams will move from site to site within the counties offering direct assistance to underserved communities with a focus on those unable to visit mass vaccination sites or other clinics, including rural, undocumented, and/or Black and Brown communities. The county health departments will determine priority sites where mobile teams will deploy, according to the governor’s office.

There are now more than 850 vaccination locations in Illinois open to the public. While the state is working to increase the number of vaccines administered daily, it is limited by the amount of vaccine available and allocated by the federal government.

There is no charge to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccinations are available only by appointment at this time and residents are encouraged to check back frequently for open appointments. Individuals should sign up for an appointment to receive their second dose while they are getting their first vaccination.

For more information on how to make an appointment to receive the vaccine, updates on the state’s plan and eligibility, and answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit here.

Copyright 2021 WIFR. All rights reserved.

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