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Hancock County continues Phase 1b vaccinations as demand increases

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CARTHAGE, Il. (WGEM) -- Health officials in Hancock County say the demand for COVID-19 vaccines is surging after the state announced those in Phase 1B are eligible to get it.

That opens it up to seniors 65 and older as will as those with certain medical conditions.

Hancock County Health Department officials said they got 200 new doses of the vaccine on Tuesday but said appointment times to get the shots went fast.

"There's been an overwhelming response of individuals interested in getting a vaccine," Director of Community Health Melita Finney said.

Finney said if you're in 1B and want to get on their callback list you can either call 217-357-7449 or email COVID19vaccine@hchd1.org.

"We will eventually be calling them in the order we received their call or their message and when more vaccine becomes available to those 1B people in Hancock County we will be reaching out to set up an appointment."

But Finney said it will take time as their their list grows longer.

"People need to be patient and understand this is a process that may take a while,"

Carthage resident Stephanie Watson said whenever she's offered an appointment, she'll jump at the chance.

"First off, I'm over 65 and I'm also a compromised person with health issues," she said. "I had a stem cell transplant just about two years from now."

Watson said everyone should get the vaccine when it becomes available to them.

"I'm finally feeling well enough to get back into the community and I just feel like it's the community's responsibility to look out for one another," she said.

Finney said even with the vaccine being distributed, people need to keep their guard up.

"COVID is definitely still in the area," she said. "We're still seeing cases of it. Everyone needs to take responsibility and do their part in trying to reduce the spread of the illness."

She said the best way to do that is the simple measures people have been taking for months, washing their hands, socially distancing and wearing masks.

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Blake Sammann

Blake Sammann is a reporter and weekend anchor at WGEM News.

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