Vaccine availability in Marion County area being increased

Vaccine availability in Marion County area being increased

The availability of COVID-19 vaccine is ramping up in Marion County.

Health Department Administrator Melissa Mallow says 1st shot vaccine is once again flowing through her department. Another clinic for 250 on the waiting list is being planned for next Thursday at the Calumet Street Christian Church in Centralia.

The health department will also be providing the additional first shot vaccines to Salem Township Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital in Centralia.

In addition, SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital has entered a partnership with the state that will bring them an extra 300 to 500 doses of vaccine a week.

Spokesperson Bethany Benjamin says the increased doses should be available beginning next week.

As part of the program, the hospital will reach out through churches and community groups to those who may not have internet service or not like to seek out the vaccine on their own through the SSM Health website. The hospital is currently planning to provide the expanded vaccination services at their current vaccine site at the Family Health Center on West McCord Street.

The Marion County Health Department, SSM Health, and Salem Township Hospital will all continue to contact those on their waiting lists to receive the available vaccines.

Meanwhile, the Walmart stores in Salem, Centralia, and Mt. Vernon are among those now taking requests for COVID-19 vaccines. You can sign up for time slots available at the store pharmacies on the Walmart app or online at Walmart.com/COVIDvaccine

The Walgreens store in Centralia has also started taking reservations for vaccines through the Walgreens website.

Mallow hopes with the additional vaccine availability they can begin whittling down their waiting list for those in the expanded 1B group.