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Project Oz Plans COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic To Reach Young People

Teen getting the vaccine
Marta Lavandier
McLean County and other communities have struggled with lower vaccination rates among young people.

A Bloomington nonprofit will host a free clinic Thursday in hopes of chipping away at low COVID-19 vaccination rates among young people.

McLean County and other communities have struggled with lower vaccination rates among young people. To attack that problem, Project Oz will host a vaccine clinic from 4-7 p.m. Thursday at 1105 W. Front St., Bloomington. The group is also offering free door-to-door transportation to the clinic. Call (309) 827-0377 to arrange transportation.

“We want to remove that as a barrier,” said Project Oz executive director Lisa Thompson.

Barriers like that help explain why fewer young people are vaccinated, she said.

Imagine, she said, a 16-year-old who wants to get vaccinated.

“You not only have to coordinate your schedule, and maybe your summer job, but your parent’s schedule, and then you have to find a site that you may or may not have transportation to,” Thompson said. “There are some logistical challenges with the under-18 population.”

There’s also a lot of misinformation that may keep young people away, Thompson said.

That includes fears that the vaccine injects a secret chip or magnet (it doesn’t), that it will make you infertile (it won’t), or that someone who already caught COVID once doesn’t need it (not true).

“There’s lots of rumors and myths that we’re working to debunk with teens,” said Thompson, adding that there will be youth counselors on site Thursday to respond to questions.

The clinic is also able to give people their second dose if they got their first one but missed the second.

Gene’s Ice Cream will be giving away $5 gift cards for anyone who gets vaccinated at the clinic. Avanti’s is offering free food to those while they wait.

Make a reservation for Thursday’s clinic online or by calling (309) 827-0377.

The clinic is aimed at younger people but is open to anyone.

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Ryan Denham is the content director for WGLT and WCBU.
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