The Rock Island County Health Department instituted a change this week aimed at making it easier for parents to get their eligible children vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to public health officials in Rock Island, parents no longer will need to make appointments for their children to get vaccinated or receive booster shots.
"We are trying to make vaccination as easy as possible for everyone," Janet Hill, public information officer of the Rock Island County Health Department, said in a news release. "Cases are soaring throughout our community, including in our schools. Every school-age child is eligible to be vaccinated. Please take advantage of these opportunities so we all can get back to normal and end the pandemic.
"We all want our children to be able to stay in school. Vaccinated children do not need to quarantine after an exposure, unless they are symptomatic," Hill said. "Vaccinating children will keep them learning in classrooms where they thrive best."
The most immediate impact of the no-reservation policy will come at the Rock Island County Health Department's special Pfizer clinic, held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday for all children ages 5 to 17. Booster shots for children ages 12 and older — and who received their second vaccination at least five months ago — also will be administered at the special clinic.
The clinic will be held at the Rock Island County Health Department's offices at 2112 25th Ave., Rock Island.
Rock Island County public health officials also announced no appointments are needed for children ages 5 to 11 at the pediatric Pfizer clinic held every Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
In the news release, the health department said it expects after-school hours will be popular and families should expect a line. Parents who previously made appointments for the Friday pediatric clinic should come at their sign-up times.
With the change, all Rock Island County Health Department COVID-19 clinics are available on a walk-in basis. The department offers the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Tuesdays and the Pfizer vaccine on Fridays. Hours for all clinics are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
COVID-19 in the Q-C, by the numbers
The Rock Island County Health Department reported five more COVID-19 deaths since Wednesday's update — a woman in her 60s, a man in his 70s, a man in his 80s and two men in their 90s, all of whom had been hospitalized.
The total number of COVID-19 deaths in the county since the start of the pandemic is 433.
The Rock Island County Health Department also reported 703 new cases of COVID-19 since Wednesday's update. The total number of cases in the county since the start of the pandemic is 27,475.
Public health officials reported 91 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Rock Island County.
"The state of Illinois reported more than 207,000 cases this week, and that doesn’t include the ones where patients took home tests," Rock Island County Health Department Administrator Nita Ludwig said. "We know that the virus is rampant in every county in the United States, not just Rock Island County.
"The most important messages at this time are to wear a mask in public, stay home when you a sick, seek health care resources if you become sicker and get vaccinated as soon as possible. Plus, if it’s been five months since your second Pfizer or Moderna dose or two months since your Johnson & Johnson dose, get boosted. Everyone 5 and older must get vaccinated so we can end this pandemic."
Vaccinations in the Q-C
A calculator and quick look at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's county-wide vaccination update from Friday showed there are a combined 179,975 people fully vaccinated people against COVID-19 in Rock Island and Scott counties.
That's 57.2% of the the two counties' combined population of 314,822.
The CDC also offered some information about the number of fully vaccinated people in Rock Island and Scott counties who have received a booster shot — reporting a total of 72,050. That's 40% of the fully vaccinated people in both counties.
In terms of specific counties, 57.7% of people in Scott County are fully vaccinated — that's 99,747 of the county's population of 172,943. In Rock Island County, 80,228 of 141,879 residents are fully vaccinated — that's 56.5%.