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Peoria Area Set To Expand COVID Vaccines To Frontline Workers, Seniors

The next wave of COVID-19 vaccinations is slated to begin in the Peoria area next week -- and it's a big one.

Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson says the agency expects to vaccinate more than 70,000 people in the Tri-County area in the next several weeks.

"While the local health departments and our partner agencies are able to vaccinate more people, we don't have enough vaccine yet," she said. "So we're working with our partner agencies, which includes our hospital systems, our federally qualified health centers, as well as our EMS providers, to be able to dispense as quickly and as equitably as possible."

The 1B group includes all area residents age 65 and over who opt to get vaccinated, as well as frontline essential workers.

"The key to recognize about this group is that they are at a higher risk of exposure due to their inability to perform their work duties remotely, and their proximity to their fellow coworkers or to the public," Hendrickson said. 

She said the incoming Biden administration is expected to boost the numbers of doses heading out to local health departments. That means the number of vaccines coming in may increase.

"When we get more vaccine, we will be pushing it out as fast as possible," she said. "Patience is what we're asking right now."

Right now, Hendrickson said the health department is getting overwhelmed with inquires about the COVID-19 vaccine. But rather than calling, emailing, or just showing up, she said to wait your turn for the health department to contact you.

"We really are extremely happy that so many residents are eager to get vaccinated," she said. "But patience is the key."

The 1A group included frontline health care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff.

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