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Knox, Stark, Marshall Among Area Counties Moving To 1B COVID Vaccinations Next Week

Michele Gabriel, Knox County Health Department Administrator, speaks at a press conference January 15, 2020.
Courtesy City of Galesburg
Michele Gabriel, Knox County Health Department Administrator, speaks at a press conference January 15, 2020.

Knox County will begin vaccinating frontline essential workers and people aged 65 and older next week.

Michele Gabriel is Knox County's public health administrator. She says the 1B wave is a big group.

"The amount of vaccine we receive varies. It will take us some time to get through 'B' if the amounts that we receive continue to stay around even the thousand-dose mark," Gabriel said.

In Knox County alone, more than 10,000 people are aged 65 or older.

"It could be some time before we see the end of 1B," Gabriel said. "I know there's counties smaller than ours who are estimating it could take a couple months to get through."

The Knox County Health Department will work in concert with Galesburg Cottage Hospital and OSF Saint Mary Medical Center to coordinate clinics and offer vaccines to those eligible in the next wave.

"We are getting a lot of emails and a lot of phone calls," she said. "It may take some time for us to actually get back to you and return your call."

She said companies and organizations are welcome to send along lists and numbers of employees eligible for vaccination under 1B to assist the local health care infrastructure prioritize. That includes manufacturing, public transportation, grocery store employees, and daycare workers, among others.

Gabriel said getting the rest of the county's first responders vaccinated also remains a top priority.

Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford counties also are moving on to 1B vaccinations next week. Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson estimates 70,000 people in the Peoria area may receive a COVID-19 vaccine under this wave.

Health department officials in Bureau, Marshall, and Putnam counties also anticipate launching 1B vaccinations next week. Henry and Stark counties are moving on to 1B as eligible 1A workers in health care have received their first or second doses.

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Tim Shelley is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.