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Rockford mass vaccination site closes after 109 days of serving community

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — As Rockford reopens, the mass vaccination site on Sandy Hollow Road closes.

Friday was the last day you could get a COVID-19 vaccine there.

For years, the property was vacant, and then it became a symbol of hope.

"We would not have driven down our positivity rate, the numbers in the hospitals, the number on ventilators, without that site," Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara says.

In times of need we turn to family, friends, and our community for support.

"Calling Sunil Puri and saying I know you own this site, this could be a good site, giving me the answer immediately on the phone that day, not asking anyone on his team just saying yes we'll make it happen," McNamara recalls.

Round-the-clock construction began on the unused Kmart building and just three days later, the facility was staffed and ready to serve northern Illinois.

"This is when we were having a surge," Winnebago County Public Health Administrator Dr. Sandra Martell remembers.

It's an allegory that illustrates how people come together during hardships.

"That site contributed significantly to our overall vaccination rate," Martell says.

At its peak, more than 1,000 vaccines were administered per day here, but the goal was always to close it.

Now, we are there.

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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