Vaccination eligibility moves to 18 and older in Washington County

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Effective Monday, Three Rivers Public Health Department opened COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to individuals 18 and older. According to a press release, increasing the age range for the vaccinations helps fill appointments at the clinic and pharmacy locations, including at Memorial Community Hospital and Walmart in Blair.

Terra Uhing, executive director at Three Rivers Public Health Department, said it didn't make sense when the federal pharmacy programs decided last week anyone could get vaccination at the pharmacies but couldn't go to the clinics.

"They were having a hard time filling those positions," she said. "We wanted to open it up so we didn't have vaccines sitting in fridges and freezers. It's not doing any of us a bit of good if it's sitting there."

Uhing said they found challenges when it comes to extra doses at the end of a clinic.

"We would find that people went other places for their vaccine and wouldn't cancel their appointments," she said. "We were trying way too hard at a clinic to fill appointments when we have so many people out there that really wanted a vaccine. So it didn't make any sense to me to keep restrictions when we needed to have it more readily available."

Uhing said they would spend two or three hours calling only to find out they have already been vaccinated.

Appointments can be made at www.threeriverspublichealth.org/COVID-19/COVID-19-Updates and on healthcare partners websites and social media accounts. Those who do not have access to the internet or need assistance should call 402-727-5396.

Three Rivers announced two new cases of the COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variant — also known as the United

Kingdom UK variant — identified in Dodge County.

“This reminds us that the pandemic is not over and that we need individuals to stay home when sick, avoid crowds, wear masks in public and seek a COVID-19 vaccine when able,” Uhing said.

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