COVID vaccine more accessible in Illinois, parts of Iowa; still unattainable for many

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New mass vaccination clinics for the Quad Cities, Springfield area, and the Siouxland, Iowa, area are among the steps the two states are taking as demand for COVID vaccinations continues to outpace supply.

Meanwhile, demand in areas including Dubuque, Des Moines and Cedar Rapids remains so high that those who qualify under expanded eligiblity this week may still be waiting weeks for available appointments.

Iowa and Illinois were already among the slowest states to vaccinate even before this week. Now that both states have expanded vaccine eligibility to adults under age 65 who have complicating conditions, including the current or former use of cigarettes, the press for vaccinations is growing. University employees have been told to expect a slower roll-out of vaccinations to them than to many other universities’ employees, reports the Daily Iowan. And Gov. Kim Reynolds has cautioned even the state’s essential workers that it will likely take about five weeks for all of them to get vaccinated, reports CBS@Iowa.

New efforts to respond to the increasing demand for vaccinations in Illinois and Iowa include the following:

• Quad Cities’ new six-day-a-week mass vaccination clinic is now happening at Camden Centre in Milan. It’s an effort mobilized by the National Guard above and beyond the state’s efforts. Rock Island County residents, which includes about half of the Quad Cities, can seek appointments through the Rock Island County Health Department website. There, Illinois-side Quad Citians can also find links to sign-ups at Hy-Vee, Walgreen’s, and Jewel-Osco.

• On the Iowa side of the Quad Cities, Scott County held the first of several planned vaccination clinics for “targeted groups” Wednesday. The first group was limited to people with disabilities and their in-home attendant care staffs. Future clinics will focus on additional targeted groups, reports the Quad City Times.

• The state of Illinois has also created a website listing 21 state-operated COVID vaccination “hubs” throughout the state. Click here to find the list.

• In Springfield, Ill., a new drive-through clinic will offer vaccination in addition to the state’s effort from March 15 to April 30. To explore apopintments for this clinic, go here. To offset any waste of doses, several sites have also come up with systems to provide doses to anyone willing to wait in designated spots for whatever doses have not been administered, reports the Illinois Times.

• If you live in North Liberty, you’re asked to sign up for your interest in vaccination through an online form. North Liberty is also providing free transportation to vaccine appointments. Find all of this here.

• The Dubuque area expects to see vast increases in vaccine availability in the coming four to eight weeks, reports the Telegraph Herald. In addition, firefighters are learning how to administer the shot to help out organizations like EMS and the Visiting Nurse Association that has been helping with administration there.

• Linn County residents have been told to wait until March 15 or later for more doses to arrive, reports KCRG. It may even be until late March before the county can begin to expand into those under age 65 with qualifying medical conditions.

• To the west, in the Siouxland area, a new weekly vaccination clinic starts this week. Buena Vista County Public Health plans to hold a weekly clinic at least every Thursday through March.

• Woodbury County https://www.siouxlandproud.com/community/health/coronavirus/registration-for-next-woodbury-county-covid-19-vaccination-clinic-opens-next-week/

• Also in western Iowa, a private pharmacy will offer vaccinations this Friday to anyone in the “tri-state area” eligible under CDC guidelines or county of residence, reports Siouxland News. Drilling Pharmacy already held its first clinic Tuesday, administering 300 of the 1,000 doses it had received. Click here to seek openings.

• Pottawattamie County aims to hold vaccine clinics as doses become available; it announced a Saturday clinic Tuesday but all spots were filled before the end of the day. Watch this link for future clinics.

• In the Waterloo area, public librarians across Black Hawk County have joined in to help seniors over 80 seek appointments, and to reach into rural areas in northern Iowa with vaccine guidance, reports KWWL.

• An Ankeny man is continuously expanding a website aimed at helping Iowans find vaccination appointments. Tom Brady seeks to enable Iowans to search the state for where appointments are available among the myriad of private clinics, corporate pharmacies, private pharmacy pop-ups, state-organized clinics, county-organized clinics and more.

• While the Des Moines area continues to first focus on catching up on senior vaccinations and delays the expansions, public transportation is now free for anyone headed to their appointment.

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