“Significant” number of COVID-19 vaccine doses coming to Metro East; lawmakers ask Pritzker to move tiers

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FILE – In this Jan. 9, 2021, file photo, vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are placed next to a loaded syringe in Throop, Pa. (Christopher Dolan/The Times-Tribune via AP, File)

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ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Il– A mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic is slated to open Monday at the Belle-Clair Fairgrounds, although officials still can’t confirm how many doses the county expects to receive from the state.

“It appears we’re going to get a significant number of doses that are going to be coming to the county, so stay tuned. ” County Chairman Mark Kern said during Thursday’s daily COVID-19 briefing. Hopefully we’ll be getting a good number vaccinated next week,” he said.

The county says 51,497 people have signed up to get the vaccine as of Thursday afternoon. A call center is ready to go to notify people of availability once the supply comes in.

Kern noted the lack of availability of hospital beds, which is keeping the Metro East region from moving out of strict state COVID-19 mitigation protocols. Thursday afternoon, state lawmakers from the region announced they had contacted Governor Pritzker’s office asking for a review, citing the Metro East’s proximity to hospital beds in St. Louis as something that doesn’t get factored into consideration.

“As a border region in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States, the truth is many of our health care systems are located in Missouri, and residents utilize both hospitals and healthcare providers there, particularly in St. Louis. Therefore, there are many more hospital beds available regionally than reflected in the count of beds when limited to just Illinois, and the ICU hospital bed availability number fails to take this larger regional number into account,” State Sens. Rachelle Crowe, D-Glen Carbon, and Christopher Belt, D-Centreville, State Reps. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, and LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis, all said in a statement.

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