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COVID-19 vaccine distribution process moves slow in Stephenson County

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 3:58 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The Stephenson County Health Department has been hard at work distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare personnel over the past three weeks. But health experts say the area is receiving limited numbers of doses making it hard to vaccinate people quickly.

“We got a late start versus all the counties around us,” said Stephenson County Public Health Administrator Craig Beintema.

Stephenson County was only given about 70 doses when the Pfizer vaccine was rolled out.

“Originally Stephenson County was not in the 50 highest death rates,” Beintema said.

But about a week later Moderna was approved and Stephenson County began giving out about 500 doses a week.

“We’ve been able to have a wonderful and great collaboration with the hospitals and it’s worked out well, " Beintema said.

Stephenson County has provided a majority of health personnel with their first doses, but Beintema says planning is about to get tricky.

“Once we hit another 2 weeks we will be on to the second dosage. So that will present a problem if we don’t get that vaccine then and with not a lot of vaccine it makes it very difficult to work on 1-B,” Beintema said.

“We have been fortunate that some of our firefighters and police officers vaccinated but we are waiting for additional doses so more of our employees and citizens here can get a vaccine,” said Freeport City Manager Randy Bukas.

Bukas says while it’s been a slow process getting people vaccinated, each shot given is another step towards reopening the Pretzel City.

“It will really help the restaurants and small businesses if we open up a little bit but we have to do it cautiously and as the primers on metrics fall into place,” Bukas said.

Group 1B will begin receiving vaccines starting Monday.

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