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Mercer County opens clinic as Illinois allows Phase 1B vaccinations to begin

All 400 vaccines offered at the Mercer County Health Department have been reserved for the month of February.

Residents who qualified for Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccinations visited the Mercer County Health Department for their first dose Monday. 

100 people are getting vaccinated this week, like Molly Joseph and her husband Bill. 

"The shot itself was nothing," Molly says. "It was a very easy process." 

Each received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine. 

"I didn't really even notice it," Bill says. "It just happened. I was still waiting for the shot, and then it was over."

All 400 of the health department's allotted vaccines from the state have been reserved for the month of February.

"I knew (the vaccine) was gonna be hard to get and hard to get in (to the clinic), and things would be limited," Molly says. "It was a blessing to be able to come in soon and get it done."

Public Health Administrator Carla Ewing says it only took two and a half hours for every appointment to fill up. She says she doesn't expect more than 100 shots a week from the state, so these Phase 1B vaccination clinics could stick around for a while. 

"It can take three to four months," she says. "There's at least 5,000 people that fall in that Phase 1B."

If the health department gets more doses, Carla says they'll add more slots.

"We'll look at the variety of our clinics, the length of our clinics, the days of our clinics," Carla says. 

The clinic is by-appointment early, and the health department will announce on its social media and website if it receives more doses. Those who qualify have to call the health department to set up an appointment. 

"I think it's a responsibility to do it, not only for yourself, but everybody around you," Molly says. 

Both Molly and Bill say they feel lucky to get in. 

"We're really excited about this turn," Bill says. "We think it'll be the solution to this pandemic."