Illinois Launches Rural Vaccination Program

First Events in Fayette, Shelby, Moultrie and Clay Counties to Offer Thousands of Doses to County Residents

SPRINGFIELD,  IL (STL.News) To further expand vaccine accessibility in rural communities, the State of Illinois is launching a rural vaccination pilot program. Starting this week, additional National Guard mobile operations will begin visiting rural communities with the capability to deliver upwards of 1,000 doses of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine per day.  The program will begin with events in Fayette and Shelby counties where a combined 2,600 doses can be administered before expanding to additional sites in Moultrie and Clay County later this week.

Addressing travel distances to providers is a key step in expanding access to healthcare in rural communities.  This rural vaccination pilot program, which will run local vaccination clinics supported by local health departments as a one-stop shop, will result in people getting vaccinated quicker, without the logistics and time commitment associated with coordinating a second trip.

“While it’s been a long and difficult year, the fact that we now have three incredibly effective and protective vaccines is practically a scientific miracle – and it’s on us to get all three options out to the people of Illinois as quickly and widely as we can,” said Governor JB Pritzker.  “Our state-supported mass vaccination sites are open to residents of every county, but the rural vaccination pilot program takes availability one step further by bringing the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine directly into regions that have historically had less easy access to healthcare.  No community is truly out of this pandemic until every community is, and I’ll deploy every state resource to get all of Illinois across that finish line as soon as possible.”

As the spring planting season approaches, these rural vaccination clinics serve as an opportunity for farmers.

“Before the busy planting season gets underway, we urge eligible farmers and producers to find a vaccination center near them.  In many cases, farmers are self-employed. As a reminder, there is no charge to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.  Insurance is not required, and the vaccine will be administered regardless of your immigration status,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, and chair of the Governor’s Rural Affair’s Council.

There are now more than 900 vaccination locations in Illinois open to the public.  For those having difficulty navigating online services to make vaccination appointments, the Vaccine Appointment Call Center may be able to assist.  This hotline is available seven days a week from 6:00 a.m. to midnight.  Call agents’ primary role is to help individuals navigate the various online registration sites.  However, if the individual does not have access to online services or is unable to navigate the site, the call agent will make an appointment on the caller’s behalf.  That phone number is 1-833-621-1284.

For more information on how to make an appointment to receive the vaccine, updates on the state’s plan and eligibility, and answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, go to coronavirus.illinois.gov.