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Illinois launches program to help vaccinate underserved communities

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Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine(Hawaii News Now/file)
Published: Mar. 6, 2021 at 4:29 PM CST
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(Editor’s note: This story was originally published March 3, 2021 at 3:54 PM CST - Updated March 3 at 3:54 PM on www.kfvs12.com)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Great Health Divide) - The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced a new partnership with four local federally qualified health centers and safety net hospitals to administer COVID-19 vaccines to Illinoisans in underserved communities.

The program aims to reduce vaccine hesitancy providing residents vaccines more quickly from trusted providers.

“Ensuring the most vulnerable Illinois residents have a trusted, reliable health care provider to administer the COVID-19 vaccine is critical to combating this deadly virus,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This new pilot program builds on robust efforts by the administration to ensure equity is at the center of the state’s Vaccine Administration Plan. By partnering with providers in underserved communities we can reduce vaccine hesitancy and ensure we are reaching Illinoisans in the communities they call home.”

In the Heartland, Rural Health, Inc., in Union County and SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital, in Marion County will be participating in the program.

These sites will receive 300-500 more vaccine doses per week, on top of the doses already allocated to the area.

IDPH used the COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index (CCVI) as well as local vaccination rates to select sites for the first round of the pilot program.

Great Health Divide is an initiative addressing health disparities in the Mississippi Delta and Appalachia funded in part by the Google News Initiative.

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