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WCHD, National Guard Provide Vaccination Bump in County

By Travis Volz

Vaccination rates continue to climb among Washington County residents, a good sign that the worst days of the pandemic may be in the rearview mirror.

After weeks of trying to wrangle more vaccine doses for the county, Washington County Health Department Administrator Elizabeth Lehde was successful in procuring more shots for the county, with a little help from the Illinois National Guard.

“The process to get the National Guard here was a long time coming,” Lehde said. “For weeks, I tried to procure more vaccine for our county, but multiple attempts through many avenues have turned up unsuccessful.”

After exhausting all other options to increase the dosage for the county, Lehde contacted the Regional Hospital Coordinating Center (RHCC) that is affiliated with the county’s Emergency Preparedness Coalition.

The RHCC has been coordinating National Guard efforts in the region, which until recently, had been limited to deploying in St. Clair and Jackson counties.

Lehde’s efforts paid off when a team of National Guard soldiers brought vaccines to the county Thursday and Monday. Between the WCHD and the National Guard team, 370 residents received doses of the vaccine.

“Doing this was the only way to bring additional vaccine into our county,” Lehde said. “The Guard brings vaccine with them to administer and supplements the needs of the department.”

Read the full story in this week’s issue. 

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