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St. Clair County, Illinois ahead of schedule in distributing COVID-19 vaccine shots

Older adults are able to get vaccinated at Walgreens

ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ill. — COVID-19 vaccinations for group 1B, adults age 65 and older, don't open in Illinois until Monday. But many older St. Clair County residents are already getting vaccinated at drugstores like Walgreens.

While many older adults are happy about the opportunity to get a vaccine shot, they also say it helps if you have a tech-savvy loved one who can help you with the online registration.

“So, it's really a relief,” said Barbara Friederich, when she and her husband, Larry, walked out of Walgreens in Fairview Heights. They received the COVID-19 vaccine inside after their daughter helped them with the online registration.

“She went online and said it was a very tedious process she went through to sign us up,” said Barbara.

Group 1B members, age 65 and older, must register in advance at www.walgreens.com/covid19vac.

The Friederichs are part of group of 1B. And if older Illinois residents are getting access to the COVID-19 vaccine before Monday, that means somebody is ahead of schedule.

Mark Kern is the St. Clair County Board Chair.

“Obviously Walgreens has met their demand with what they were charged to do in 1A,” said Kern, “so it's allowing them to move into 1B. So, I would credit Walgreen's, and of course he state of Illinois, who works with them to get the vaccine.”

At CVS Pharmacy in Swansea, they are not currently distributing the COVID-19 vaccine. But they showed us a sign containing a QR code, which will connect you with a list of CVS stores that are distributing the vaccine.

Back at Walgreens, we also ran into married couple Tony Edwards and Gayle Wierciszewski. They, too, were frustrated with the online registration.

“We don't really know how to get on the internet and set up an appointment. And that's been difficult, so we're going to go in and find a tech and see if we can find out how to do that,” Gayle said.

Kern said St. Clair County is also planning a mass vaccination event at Belle-Clair Fairgrounds, Feb. 9, if not sooner.