The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is now available to the elder residents and essential workers living in Edwards County.

Judy Wissel, Administrator of the Wabash County Health Department, noted that the state of Illinois gave them the go-ahead to begin administering the vaccine to non-medical personnel early last week. When the vaccines initially arrived at county health departments, they were authorized only to give doses of the vaccine to front-line healthcare professionals within their respective communities, in what was dubbed Phase 1A of the vaccine distribution plan.

“We are finished with 1A for the most part,” said Wissel. “There are a few 1A individuals that will be vaccinated in 1B.

“The State approved moving to 1B on Jan 18.”

In phase 1B, persons over 65 are able to receive the vaccine, as well as front line essential workers. Those are defined as those workers who are essential for the functioning of society and are at highest risk of exposure.

Examples of essential workers include: first responders, firefighters (including volunteers), law enforcement officers, 911 dispatchers, security personnel, school officers and EMS personnel, corrections officers and inmates, food and agriculture workers, postal service workers, grocery store workers, public transport workers, teachers, principals, student support, student aids and day care workers and adult care and shelter workers.

Those eligible for the vaccine residing in Edwards County will receive their doses through the Wabash County Health Department.

“We will be offering vaccines to individuals who work or live in Wabash and/or Edwards Counties.”

Edwards County Health Office Administrator Belinda Moore also noted that those Edwards County residents who work in Wayne County are eligible to receive the vaccine through the Wayne County Health Department as well.

The supply to split between the counties of Edwards and Wabash is currently in short supply, as the state of Illinois is dispersing their vaccines based on county population figures, leaving the Wabash County Health Department receiving a mere 100 vaccines per week from the state.

“We have just 100 on hand to hold one clinic on Jan. 26 and to give the second dose to the 40 individuals that received the dose in December,” Wissel noted. “It is coming in from the State’s limited supply through allocations based on population.”

While nearby Wayne County has used a voucher system to manage its vaccine distribution, the Wabash Health Department is scheduling appointments for those hoping to receive it.

For the rest of the story, check out this week's Navigator.