PEORIA (WEEK) -- The race to vaccinate the public is entering a new phase as providers open vaccine eligibility to the general public for the first time both through hospitals and pop-up clinics.
"The more points of distribution we have in the community, the more successful we'll be in our efforts," UnityPoint Regional Director of Pharmacy Alice Driscoll said.
There were two county sponsored vaccination sites for anyone 16 and over today in Peoria, at Ward AME Chapel and St. Paul Baptist.
"It's college age kids. It's young adults, young families," OSF Chief Nursing Officer Sarah Overton said.
According to health leaders, those ages 10 to 30 made up almost 40 percent of total cases in Peoria in mid-March. Overton says getting those young people vaccinated could be crucial to avoiding a large fourth wave.
OSF will be opening a new scheduling tool soon and they are already calling younger people to get vaccinated. They expect a large wave at first, but it could be a challenge to keep that up long term.
"For the first few weeks again, we hear positive news, and there's people that really want to get vaccinated," Overton said. "Then there's the time where we are literally struggling to fill schedules."
Over at UnityPoint, they expect to open their vaccines to young adults in the next few weeks. Driscoll says young adult vaccination numbers should jump up drastically once they are eligible.
"As we move into the younger population, I think right now, our numbers are not as high because they've not had that opportunity," Driscoll said. "As we open up to our younger population, that we will see that same uptick of vaccines."
City Link will host a pop-up vaccine clinic at the Downtown Peoria Transportation Center Thursday. To sign up for that clinic, visit this website.