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McLean County Still Lagging In COVID Vaccinations

National Guard meeting working at table at vaccination clinic.
Emily Bollinger
Illinois National Guard members are assisting the McLean County Health Department at the COVID vaccine clinic at Grossinger Motors Arena in Bloomington.

McLean County trails all neighboring counties, and much of Illinois, in COVID vaccination rates despite getting larger vaccine shipments in recent weeks, according to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health.McLean County Health Department Administrator Jessica McKnight said the county is still catching up from the start of the vaccine rollout when counties with higher COVID-19 death rates got vaccines first.

Jessica McKnight
Credit McLean County
Jessica McKnight

McKnight said severe winter weather and shipment delays limited vaccine supplies in February when many people had second doses due. She said that forced many vaccine hopefuls to wait until March to get their first dose.

“You can’t give a first dose if you don’t have it, and you can’t give a second dose if it’s not due yet,” McKnight said.

About 12% of the county's residents (21,522) have received both vaccine doses, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). The state average of fully vaccinated is nearly 15%. 

About 20% of Illinois counties have lower vaccination rates while some nearby counties, including Ford (24.5%) and Champaign counties (22.7%) are nearly double McLean County's vaccination rate.

McKnight said she expects McLean County's rate of fully vaccinated will spike soon.

“We’ve got a lot of second dose (appointments) scheduled and if vaccine allocations pick up, then we are able to do those second doses and first doses in April,” she said.

McLean County had briefly exceeded state vaccination rates in late February and early March when more people were getting second doses.

State data shows a higher percentage of vaccine recipients in McLean County are still waiting for a second dose.

In all, more than 62,300 vaccine doses have been put into arms in McLean County, according to IDPH. data. 

McKnight said the county has lobbied the state for more COVID vaccines, adding the county has demonstrated it can handle more vaccinations, especially now that Illinois National Guard is helping at the Grossinger Motors Arena clinic in downtown Bloomington.

“We know we have a good thing going here, it’s just getting that vaccine. We have definitely advocated for it,” she said.

McKnight said National Guard members are contracted to help at the local vaccination site for 90 days.

McLean County Vaccination
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