BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker toured a mass vaccination site at the Belle Clair Fairgrounds in Belleville Thursday afternoon.
The vaccines at this site are given only to those who pre-register and make an appointment. St. Clair County announced on Feb. 17 that it will begin scheduling appointments for those who are in Phase 1B, Tier 1, as outlined by the Illinois health department.
St. Clair County's health department has set up a website for COVID-19 and vaccine information. Within the site, there is a link for vaccine registration and notification.
“The St. Clair-Belle Fairgrounds, which has administered over 10,000 doses after opening Feb. 1, is one of the most vital vaccination sites in this state,” Pritzker said Thursday.
The facility provides about 1,200 vaccine doses a day, generally Thursday-Tuesday. Appointments are necessary, and available through the St. Clair County website or Facebook page or the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency website or Facebook page.
Watch Pritzker's press conference in the video player below.
St. Clair County health officials are strongly encouraging those without an email or regular internet access to work with a relative or close friend to receive notifications on their behalf to go through the process.
“We believe this is the best and quickest way for them to get notified to set an appointment,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “For those that would still need assistance, we have a dedicated person taking their information and getting them connected with resources within the community so that they can get scheduled to receive a vaccine.”
That number is 618-233-7703 x4447 and it accepts calls weekdays from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. It is important not to overburden those phone lines; the spokesperson said if you’re already signed up, there is no need to call and check in.
“They are right where they need to be. Our phone lines are being overwhelmed with people 'checking' on where they are at on the list or asking ‘when am I going to get notified’ or ‘I signed up but haven’t received any information.’ These types of calls are hindering our ability to help those who truly need assistance.”
It will also post updates on its Facebook page.
Pritzker was asked specifically about the disparity between the number of doses Illinois county health departments are receiving.
“Every county we look at by population,” said Pritzker, “and the requests that are made to the Illinois Dept. of Public Health about how many vaccination doses they would like in their county that week or month. And we have to decide. Some counties ask for way more than is appropriate given the size of their county. Some counties are right on the nose. We have to make some judgment calls along the way.”