The Greene County Health Department has expanded a program for young mothers and infants and those seeking immunizations into Roodhouse.
Greene County Health Department Administrator Molly Peters says that the Woman, Infant, and Children Program, commonly known as WIC, and an immunization clinic for the flu, Covid, and other illnesses will be open in the former JCH Medical Group building where Dr. Randall Voigts practiced for several years at 205 Morse Street in Roodhouse. The building is just one door north of the Roodhouse Post Office.
Peters says that the WIC clinic will be open one day a week: “We had the opportunity to rent Dr. Voigt’s old office in Roodhouse, and this is probably a short-term [plan] for a year rent. What we wanted to do is try out and see if our WIC office would be of more convenience with a Roodhouse location to see if our client base for WIC would increase. So, we are watching that information. We are scheduling appointments for WIC in that office if this is a convenient location for [our clients]. We are also able to offer COVID-19 vaccinations there along with flu vaccine, and the WIC appointments are scheduled on Wednesdays. We are trying to just provide more services in the Roodhouse area and allow that community to come in and have a more accessible location.”
Peters says that there used to be more women enrolled in WIC when there was a a clinic located in the White Hall area a number of years ago. She says she wants to test the Roodhouse clinic to see if the program’s numbers increase again due to accessbility to North Greene area clients and to see if a long-term option is needed.
Peters says even in the time of remote meetings and social distancing, there is still a need for some families to schedule in-person appointments: “There are still individuals that come in, especially if you can tag a WIC visit with other immunizations for younger children – we are able to do both things and schedule that out. It’s just allows the Health Department to set a schedule that is maybe more convenient, more accessible for parents to come in and have less of a drive if they have transportation needs.”
Clients and potential WIC recipients should call the Greene County Health Departmetn at 217-942-6961 and make an appointment ahead of time. Funding for rent of the location has been paid for by federal CARES Act money.
Peters says she’s already seen appreciation and use of the walk-in vaccination clinics from people in Roodhouse who no longer have to drive all the way to Carrollton: “We were able to receive some mass vaccination funding for grant purposes. So, to utilize that, we are offering the location as a vaccination site, which Roodhouse is appreciate of. We had several people that came in for their first vaccine [when we opened in December]. We are kind of combining resources so that we are able to access the community more and provide additional resources with one fund.”
Peters says she hopes to offer more adult immunizations at the site some time this year. She hopes the northern Greene County community continues to utilize the clinic so that the Illinois Department of Human Services presents future funding to keep the clinic going beyond 2022.
Peters says the Greene County Health Department is focused on prevention, and she hopes with both the flu and Covid vaccines available that illness will decrease in the county. As of last week, Greene County currently sets at 37% of its total population as being considered fully vaccinated from COVID-19. Peters says that convenience and proximity of the Roodhouse clinic has caused some people in the northern Greene County area to come in and get vaccinated recently.
She says that hospitals in the are are saying that severity of illness is greatly decreased when someone gets the Covid vaccine and it’s helping keep the hospitals from being fully overrun: “The severity of illness, it’s just been seen in hospital after hospital sharing that your risk of severe illness is lessened greatly by participating in vaccination, and it’s not political. In crisis, everybody wants to take all measures to save themselves and this is a measure to save yourself now. Participating is key to preventing severe illness.”
The Greene County Health Department in Carrollton also will continue to offer Covid vaccinations every Wednesday and Friday of the month of January from 9AM-Noon and 1-3PM.