WOODFORD COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) – Central Illinoisans are looking to be next in line for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The calls are coming in early and often to local health departments. They started last week when Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the state would move into Phase 1B of vaccinations.
Andrea Ingwersen, a Public Information Officer with the Woodford County Health Department, estimated they’ve received around 1,000 calls.
“Since 1B has opened up on Friday, our phones have been ringing off the hook,” Ingwersen said.
Sara Sparkman, Communications Manager with the Tazewell County Health Department, said they’ve also seen a lot of interest.
“Tazewell County has scheduled appointments through mid-February,” Sparkman said.
She said Tazewell County has also received an influx of interest over the phone.
“The phone system is not able to handle the volume of calls,” Sparkman said.
Ingwersen said in Woodford County, they do not know ahead of time how much of the vaccine they will receive, which makes it difficult to plan week-to-week.
“There’s not an unending supply of vaccine that the health departments are getting, that then we hold onto and then schedule people. It’s the opposite,” Ingwersen.
Due to Woodford County’s size, she also said there is not a permanent location to distribute the vaccine, but the health deparment is working to change that.
“We can’t have a lot of people in the same room, we have to time out appointments, things like that. That’s logistics that are difficult for us, and we are working with some of our community partners to set that up right now,” Ingwersen said.
Ingwersen said while its exciting people want to be vaccinated, it’s going to take time.
“We’re used to serving our community with no delay, so we don’t like it either, but we appreciate everyone’s patience,” she said.
If you are 65 and over, Ingwersen said do not call the health department for the vaccine. Instead, she said healthcare providers will reach out to you.