The State of Illinois is launching a pilot program this week to get COVID vaccine into rural areas.
The Rural Vaccination Pilot Program calls for additional National Guard mobile operations to 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.
Governor JB Pritzker says 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.
According to the announcement, the mobile teams will be operated by members of the Illinois National Guard in partnership with local health departments, and appointments will be limited to county residents only.
Lt. Governor, and chair of the Governor’s Rural Affair’s Council, Juliana Stratton says
“before the busy planting season gets underway, eligible farmers and producers are urged to find a vaccination center near them.
She says in many cases, farmers are self-employed, and reminds there is no charge to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
There are now more than 900 vaccination locations in Illinois open to the public. Officials say 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. 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.