Charles Cabrera is a 22-year-old native of Galesburg who lives in Davenport and studies mechanical engineering at St. Ambrose University.
But Tuesday afternoon Cabrera was one of over 500 people who were vaccinated inside the Camden Centre COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Milan. The college student received his second dose of Moderna.
"I want to be as safe as I can," Cabrera said after the shot. "And I really want to do what I can to protect the community — you, stop the spread."
A few hours later, UnityPoint Health-Trinity Chief Medical Officer Dr. Toyosi Olutade echoed Cabrera's message of social responsibility and confirmed recent trends showing younger people throughout the Quad-Cities are contracting the virus.
"The average age of COVID patients in our hospitals has fallen to right around 40," Olutade said. "That is much, much younger than the age of patients we saw all through last year.
"The death rate is down — perhaps because our patients are younger, and certainly because we know more about treatment than we did last year. But we are seeing even young people have serious problems with the long-term effects of getting sick."
Olutade explained COVID-19 often damages lung tissue. It can take weeks, or even months, for patients' lungs to heal. Even younger COVID-19 patients can struggle with long-term lung damage.
Olutade stressed the need for younger men and women and teenagers to get vaccinated. And he said he is "excited" at the news the use of the Pfizer vaccine is poised to be approved for use in adolescents ages 12 through 15.
"This will help us better control the spread of infections," Olutade said. "We know adolescents play a big role in the spread of COVID, and vaccinations will help prevent some of that spread.
"The longer we have this infection around, the more likely it is we will see more variations of virus. And that will make it harder to fight the virus."
Walk-in clinics now the model
Last month Genesis Health System announced its COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the former Dick's Sporting Goods at 5250 Elmore Avenue in Davenport started walk-in hours from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.
The Rock Island County Health Department's vaccination clinic at the Camden Centre in Milan started universal walk-in from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Walgreens and Hy-Vee will help walk-in clients as long as the vaccine is available. And Tuesday, Walmart and Sam’s Club announced COVID-19 vaccines are now available to walk-in customers and associates in more than 5,100 pharmacy locations nationwide - including Illinois and Iowa.
COVID-19 in the Q-C, by the numbers
The Rock Island County Health Department reported 28 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of cases reported since the start of the start of the pandemic to 14,471.
Rock Island County health officials have linked 313 deaths to the virus.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, there have been 21,104 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Scott County since the start of the pandemic after Tuesday's 50 new cases were reported.
In Scott County, 239 deaths have been linked to the virus.
Another COVID-19 variant in Iowa
The Iowa Department of Public Health confirmed two cases of the COVID-19 variant, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617, in Iowa. The variant also is referred to as the India variant because it was first detected there.
In a news release, the Iowa Department of Public Health said B.1.617 is not designated as a “variant of concern,” indicating there is not evidence of increased transmissibility or more severe disease caused by this variant.
The cases were detected in an adult and an older adult in Jefferson County in southeast Iowa.