WCHD prepares for working COVID-19 vaccine to come to the region

Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 8:36 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - County public health officials believe a COVID-19 vaccine will hit the Stateline soon, but most people will not receive the first round of doses.

“We expect that the Pfizer product will be the first received approval from the FDA under the emergency use authorization tomorrow,” Winnebago County Public Health Administrator Dr. Sandra Martell said. “Everyone that needs a vaccine will be able to get a vaccine but the timeline will not be tomorrow it will not be like opening a present on December 25th.”

As anticipation for a working COVID-19 vaccine grows, preparation continues at the Winnebago County Health Department.

“We need the public to understand please be patient there’s no waiting list or appointment list for other populations at this time,” Martell said.

Frontline healthcare workers and residents at long-term care facilities will get the first round of vaccines. While Martell says she is happy to see the vaccine reach the Stateline so soon, the reason we’re high on the distribution list is discouraging.

“The first 50 counties with the highest death rates got to be on the first phase list,” Martell said. “A dubious distinction I want to be clear about that.”

While there’s a high demand for testing in the Stateline there will now be fewer sites. The Crusader Community Health Rockton Avenue clinic is closing Friday.

“This became an opportune time to begin to push back we have more of the Binax testing the antigen testing that’s being done some of the more rapid testing and really the ability to expand at the other location,” Martell said.

As the need for two testing sites decreases, other agencies see a massive increase in need. Major Mark Martsolf with the salvation army says the pandemic dramatically impacts some of the people the organization helps.

“Last year at this time, the Salvation Army had assisted about 4600 households. This year, during the eight months of COVID. We’ve assisted over 26,000 households,” Martsolf said.

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