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McLean County announces its first COVID vaccination clinics for children ages 5 to 11

Signage outside arena
Emily Bollinger
Grossinger Motors Arena in downtown Bloomington will host COVID vaccination clinics for children ages 5 to 11 on Nov. 9 and Nov. 16.
Updated: November 5, 2021 at 4:35 PM CDT
McLean County announced the COVID-related death of a man in his 70s. He was the 279th COVID death reported in the county since the start of the pandemic.

The McLean County Health Department (MCHD) has announced its first two COVID vaccine clinics specifically for children ages 5-11 who were recently approved to receive the vaccine.

The announcement comes as McLean County announced its 279th death related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

The first clinic will be from 9-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9 at Grossinger Motors Area in Bloomington. The second clinic is scheduled for 8:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16 at the arena. The department said future clinics will include afterschool hours.

“Although most children will not suffer severe COVID-19 illness, the risks associated with contracting COVID-19 are considerably higher and more serious than the minimal risks associated with vaccination,” said MCHD administrator Jessica McKnight. “Because there is no ‘risk free’ option, we encourage parents who still have concerns about the vaccine to talk to their pediatrician to make the most informed decision that is best for their family.”

Children will receive the CDC-authorized mini-dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 mini-vaccine in two doses, three weeks apart.

The department said registration for the first dose will be by appointment only and must be reserved by calling the county's COVID-19 call center at (309) 888-5600.

“Because there are limited appointments and limited capacity and a limited ability, that’s why we are doing it by phone,” McKnight said. “(It’s) just to so that we can limit the number of individuals and make it an environment that is a more welcoming, comfortable (and) calm for kiddos.”

McKnight said the county plans to schedule additional clinics while other health care providers plan for mobile clinics at schools.She said the number of clinics will depend on demand.

“We have plans to add additional clinics, especially as we gauge the interest, not really having an idea of what the uptake would be,” McKnight said, adding some pediatricians and other health care providers in the areahave started distributing youth vaccines.

McLean County topped 1,000 daily vaccine doses on Thursday for the first time since June 26, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

MCHD indicated children age 11 and under have made up the largest share of new coronavirus cases (22%) over the last two months. Children ages 12 to 17, who are fully vaccinated at a 58.6% rate, make up 9% of new cases.

Additional COVID death

McLean County reported an additional COVID-related death on Friday. It was a man in his 70s. He was not in long-term care.

That brings the county’s death toll from the pandemic to 279 and the fourth death reported this week.

Fourteen McLean County residents are hospitalized with COVID-19 and 253 people are isolating at home. The county’s seven-day testing positivity rate inched up to 2.2%.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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