SPRINGFIELD — The Orr Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds has been chosen to participate in a mass vaccination clinic of college students in Illinois.
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Friday that the Orr Building's mass vaccination site, as well as 18 other sites across the state, would participate in "College Vaccination Days," designed to help community college and university students receive a COVID-19 vaccine before the school year ends.
The Orr Building's clinic will take place on Sunday, with similar events taking place at the other sites beginning Saturday and continuing through Tuesday. Colleges and universities will provide links to encourage students to sign up for the vaccinations. Lincoln Land Community College is encouraging students to sign up for a time Sunday by logging on to the Sangamon County Health Department's webpage, scdph.org.
The new clinics come as COVID-19 infections increase among young adults throughout the state. IDPH reports that cases have doubled among people age 18-24 in the last month and people in their 20s had the highest case numbers of any group in the state.
With an increasing number of older people receiving the vaccine, Gov. JB Pritzker said in a statement, he wants to make sure that younger people play a role in returning Illinois to some level of normalcy.
"Getting vaccinated is about protecting yourself, but it's also about protecting your professors, your parents, your peers, campus staff, and the greater community you call home," Pritzker said. "I'm proud to make it easier for our community college and public and private university students to access these life-saving vaccines."
Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of IDPH, said that there was an urgent need to vaccinate as many college students as possible in order to help keep down cases and prevent community spread of COVID-19 and its variants.
"As we are starting to see variants become more prevalent and the number of cases and hospitals increasing statewide, we need to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible," Ezike said. "College campuses are microcosms of the communities in which they are located, and if we see an increase in cases on campus, we will see an increase in cases in the community.
"With young people driving our increase in cases, this is an important opportunity for our college and university students to protect themselves and their communities."
IDPH reported 3,866 new COVID-19 cases Friday and 21 deaths. Those new case numbers were down in comparison to last week when the state confirmed more than 4,000 cases for the first time since January. The positivity rate remained steady at 4.9%, with the rate as a percentage of total tests remaining at 4.2%.
Sangamon County reported 56 new cases and no additional deaths. Menard County reported four additional cases and no new deaths.
The state also had a strong day for vaccinations with 166,885 doses being administered Friday. IDPH reported that 3,182,010 people have been fully vaccinated, nearly a quarter of the state's population. Sangamon County administered 1,815 vaccines Friday, with 32.69% of the population fully vaccinated.