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Winnebago County could move to next phase of vaccination plan in just days

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — Three weeks ago, Winnebago County health officials began COIVD-19 vaccinations. Since then, nearly 10,000 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Soon, we could be moving to the next phase.

The plan to vaccinate Winnebago County was always ambitious.

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"Working with healthcare system partners we've kind of put out a challenge to all of us, we would like to minimally, collectively vaccinate 5,000 per week," Winnebago County's Public Health Administrator Dr. Sandra Martell said on Wednesday.

Phase 1A, which is vaccinating healthcare workers, isn't done yet, but in just days, the county could move to the next phase of vaccinations, Phase 1-B.

"Phase 1B represents almost two-thirds of our county," Martell explained.

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In fact, more than a dozen professions fit that category. Some of the people include teachers, corrections workers and inmates, the postal service, grocery store workers, selected manufacturers, agriculture, food service, and those 65 and older.

Vaccinating Phase 1A and Phase 1B will happen simultaneously.

Martell says around 32,000 people have already registered online to receive the vaccine when their number is called. But some people within those groups listed above will be prioritized.

"Age, risk factors, and zip codes with our highest disease burden," Dr. Martell explained.

When it is your turn, you won't be able to just walk in to a CVS or Walgreens to get the vaccine.

"They will be presented appointments at any one of the locations that is participating," Dr. Martell said.

Those locations could be SwedishAmerican Hospital, Mercyhealth, or Oak Street Health.

As healthcare workers continue to administer, and receive vaccinations, the next round could begin as early as this Friday.

But Dr. Martell said it may be four to six months before vaccines are widely available to anyone who wants one.

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Richard Bodee

Richard Bodee is a reporter at WREX. He joined the 13 WREX team in June 2019 after graduating from DePaul University with a Master’s degree in broadcast journalism.

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