BELLEVILLE, Ill. – St. Clair County will restart its popular mass vaccination site to offer COVID-19 booster shots for those 65 years of age and older and other eligible individuals.
The drive-thru mass vaccination clinic will be at the Belle-Clair Fairgrounds in Belleville, Illinois. Healthcare workers will administer Pfizer booster shots.
More than 113,000 people got vaccinated last year when the mass vaccination site was operational.
This time around, with multiple agencies also giving out the booster shot, they expect around 500 patients a day.
“We just want to make it as convenient and easy as possible,” said Herb Simmons, director of the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency. “There’s plenty of room there to accommodate the health care workers and the public.”
The site will run Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
To qualify, a person must have waited at least six months since their last dose and fall under one of the following categories:
- Anyone 65 years old and older
- Anyone who lives in a long-term care facility who is at least 18 years old
- Anyone age 18-64 who has one of the following conditions: Overweight or obesity, diabetes, long-term (chronic) kidney disease, high blood pressure, long-term lung disease like COPD, dementia, Down’s syndrome, heart conditions, HIV, weakened immune system, liver disease, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, history of organ transplant, history of smoking, stroke, or substance use disorder
- Anyone age 18-64 who is at high risk for COVID-19 exposure due to their job as a: First responder (healthcare workers, firefighters, police, congregate care staff), education staff (teachers, support staff, daycare worker), food and agriculture worker, manufacturing worker, corrections worker, U.S. Postal Service worker, public transit worker, grocery store worker
“You pull in, sign a few papers, roll up your sleeve, and you get the shot and you’re on your way,” Simmons said.
One week ago, the Illinois Department of Public Health approved the use of booster shots. Now with the inventory in, Simmons urges those who got the shot before to get the booster too.
“I just lost a good friend of mine that was in the hospital for three weeks,” he said. “That’s 13 people that I lost since this thing started that were friends of mine and I don’t want to lose another one.”
Simmons hopes the extended hours will help more people get the shot.
“We’re hoping that of the 113,000 individuals that got their first and second shot there, they will remember how convenient it was and they can come and do just like they did before,” he said.
It’s just another way to help prevent the spread of COVID as the pandemic rages on.
Currently, Pfizer booster shots are being offered at clinics like BJC, Mercy Health, and some pharmacies. There are no mass vaccination sites like the one in St. Clair County. That’s something St. Louis hospitals are looking into changing in the coming weeks.
Appointments to participate in the mass vaccination event may be scheduled online or by calling the St. Clair County Health Department at 618-825-4447.