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Pop-up vaccine clinics target underserved and rural communities

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PEORIA (WEEK) -- A multi-agency is underway to vaccinate large sections of the general public who until now haven't had easy access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

"There's a number of individuals that are also in high-risk categories that haven't been able to get the vaccine simply because they don't have transportation or they may not have the time," Director of Innovation at Advanced Medical Transport Kelly Walsh said.

The Peoria City/ County Health Department sponsored a vaccine clinic Thursday the CityLink Transit Center.

Appointments were open to the public, but unlike many other pop-up clinics, people were able to get walk-in shots as well. Organizers say it's one of the first pop-up clinics to partner with a facility like CityLink.

"It's also perfect for our passengers because they're having to come through the transit center anyway," CityLink Marketing Coordinator Emily Watson said. "This is just one way that they can easily get the vaccination."

The CityLink clinic is one of several pop-up clinics in the area opening this week and next week targeted at underserved communities.

In Fulton County, the Illinois National Guard administered hundreds of shots today in Canton. Mayor Kent McDowell says they were a bit surprised to be on the list so soon, but they're also thankful.

"I'm shocked that they got here so early, but I knew eventually they would help us," McDowell said.

Fulton County Health Department Administrator Katie Lynn says the Illinois National Guard's help made a large scale clinic possible in a small rural community.

"[The National Guard] providing that support is instrumental in us providing this," Lynn said.

Organizers tell us that many more of these pop-up sites are coming to the area over the next few weeks. They say to keep watch on your local health department and other agencies to find appointments.

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Alex Gaul

Alex Gaul joined WEEK 25 News and Heart of Illinois ABC in January 2021 as a Multimedia Journalist. He formerly worked for KPNX-TV and KAET-TV, both in Phoenix, Arizona. The Illinois-native is an alum of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

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