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Government, Politics & Issues

St. Clair County Plans To Close COVID-19 Mass-Vaccination Clinic In Belleville

St. Clair County opened its COVID-19 mass-vaccination clinic on Feb. 1 at Belle-Clair Fairgrounds in Belleville. It will close at the end of May.
File Photo / Derik Holtmann
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Belleville News-Democrat
St. Clair County opened its COVID-19 mass-vaccination clinic on Feb. 1 at Belle-Clair Fairgrounds in Belleville. It will close at the end of May.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published by the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.

The clock is ticking for people who want to get vaccinated for the coronavirus at St. Clair County’s drive-thru, mass-vaccination clinic at Belle-Clair Fairgrounds in Belleville.

The clinic will close on May 30, according to St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern, who made the announcement Sunday afternoon as part of a live-streamed COVID-19 briefing on the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency Facebook page.

“If people want to take advantage of the convenience that is offered (at the fairgrounds), they’ll need to get in there now, especially with the two-dose shot,” Kern said. “They’ve got to make sure that they’ve got time for that three weeks in between.”

The clinic is primarily administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which requires two doses 21 days apart.

Kern and other county officials who participated in the briefing didn’t say directly why they’re closing the clinic at the end of May, but they acknowledged that demand for shots has dropped.

“It has slowed down overall,” said Myla Blandford, deputy director of the St. Clair County Health Department. “Our top numbers were about 2,700 per day, and so now we’re down probably under 1,000 per day. We’re seeing that across the state and throughout the United States.”

After the Belle-Clair clinic closes, county residents still will be able to get vaccinated for the coronavirus at the health department location at 330 W. Main St. in downtown Belleville.

But Blandford is strongly encouraging people to go ahead and do it while the Belle-Clair clinic is still operating. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily. No appointment is necessary from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“It’s pretty quick,” Blandford said, noting kids of patients can stay in the back seats of cars since the clinic is drive-thru. “You’re in and out. It’s right there. It’s a great resource for the community to take advantage of while it’s still there.”

The county opened the Belle-Clair clinic on Feb. 1, when only people age 75 and older were eligible to get vaccinated for the coronavirus in Illinois. Today, it’s anyone 16 and older.

Teri Maddox is a reporter with the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.

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