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COVID-19 Vaccination Options Expanding in Peoria Area

Tim Shelley / Peoria Public Radio

More providers are now offering COVID-19 vaccines for those in the 1A or 1B groups.

The HyVee pharmacies at Sheridan Village and the Shoppes at Grand Prairie began scheduling appointments Wednesday. Vaccinations are also available at HyVee locations in Galesburg, Canton, and Peru.

The Walgreens locations at 3524 N. University and 4814 N. Sheridan in Peoria are also offering vaccines.

Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson said a patient doesn't have to be a resident of Peoria County to take advantage of vaccination opportunities at the HyVee or Walgreens stores in Peoria.

"You do not have to be a resident of Peoria County to utilize it, because that's a federal initiative," she said.

Hendrickson said she's heard good feedback from those locations so far, but stresses it's important people get their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from the same location where they receive their first.

OSF HealthCare, UnityPoint Health, and Heartland Health Services were already offering COVID-19 vaccinations on an appointment-only basis. The health systems are working through patient lists based on a risk assessment, and are asking those eligible to wait for a call, rather than trying to set up their own appointment by contacting them.

The 1A population includes frontline health workers and long-term care residents and staff, who are getting vaccinated through a federal partnership. The 1B group includes frontline, non-healthcare workers and people ages 65 and older.

More than 38,000 people in Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford counties have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Thursday.

Directors at Peoria’s two Hy-Vee locations said Friday they are not running into any problems with administering COVID-19 vaccines.

Elise Scheil, store director at the Sheridan Village Hy-Vee, said the chain is “really excited to be a part of the solution” in helping Illinois distribute the vaccine. She said her store has about 100 spots available each day, with advance registration required.

“All the scheduling is done online, and so we haven't had any difficulty with that,” she said. “A new spot opens every day, so we're scheduled five days out. So each day, another spot five days out opens up.”

Mike Joseph, the Grand Prairie store’s customer experience director, said his location has been seeing people come in from all across the area, mostly elderly customers and front-line workers.

“We've been doing about 80 customers a day,” said Joseph, also noting the required five-day advanced registration. “Our initial vaccine, I think we got 600 doses, so we kind of spread that out, you know, 6 to 7 days.”

Both Scheil and Joseph said the vaccination process takes about 15-20 minutes, as patients need to be monitored after receiving the dosage. Scheil said the main focus is not about promoting the chain, but rather helping fight the pandemic.

“We don’t want it to be about Hy-Vee,” she said. “We’re just one of the places; it's more about the vaccine than and taking care of Illinois.”

Click here to register for an appointment at a HyVee, or click here for more information on getting vaccinated at Walgreens.

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Copyright 2021 WCBU. To see more, visit WCBU.

Tim Shelley is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.
Joe Deacon is a reporter at WCBU.