(WSIL)--When vaccines first became available to the public, it could be weeks before you could schedule an appointment.
Now, it is easier than ever to get a vaccine. But while doses are in abundance, fewer people are rolling up their sleeves to get their doses.
For the Southern Seven Health Department, the average population for completely vaccinated adults is about 18.3%.
The average across Illinois is 25%.
"That shows you how much of a lag there is between the state average for fully vaccinated, and Southern Seven's fully vaccinated average. And that is just because we don't have people coming out to get vaccinated," said Nathan Ryder, the Southern Seven Health Department outreach coordinator.
This trend is showing up not only in Southern Seven counties.
Jackson and Egyptian Health Departments have seen similar issues.
"They're still seeing strong demand in larger cities and urban areas across the state. But just like many other places across the United States, rural populations are just not coming out to get vaccinated," said Ryder.
Southern Seven clinics have seen a decline in new vaccinations.
"We have gone from clinics where we were doing 100 to 150 first doses every day at each of those clinic locations, and now we are maybe seeing at most a dozen new people coming in the door to get vaccinated," said Ryder.
Jackson County has also seen less first doses, saying in a statement,
"We have seen a sharp decline in demand for vaccine locally within the past two weeks. Accordingly, Saturday was the last day of operation for the Carbondale Civic Center site. In addition, we continue to work through our on-hand vaccine inventory and have cut-back on requesting first-doses of additional vaccine."
But for those who still want a vaccine, the time to get your dose is now.
"We definitely don't want people to hesitate. If they're thinking about getting vaccinated, they need to come out to our clinics and get vaccinated now. We have plenty vaccine available. We're doing walk ins, so you don't even have to schedule an appointment using the state system. We're trying to do all these things to make it super easy so you can come out and get your COVID-19 vaccine. So don't wait," said Ryder.
In order to prevent wasting doses, Jackson County, Egyptian, and Southern Seven Health Departments reallocated doses of the vaccine to other providers in their areas.
These health departments want to remind the public, despite reallocations, there are still plenty of doses for walk-ins and appointments.
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