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Peoria County COVID-19 Vaccination Rates Vary Widely By ZIP Code

The 61605 ZIP code has Peoria County's lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate, at just 17 percent.
Tim Shelley
The 61605 ZIP code has Peoria County's lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate, at just 17 percent.

About 38 percent of Peoria County is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. But that number masks disparities among various ZIP codes.

Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson said just 17 percent of the 61605 ZIP code encompassing Peoria's South Side is fully vaccinated. 61603 (East Bluff and North Valley) is at 21 percent, and 61606 (West Bluff) is at 20 percent.

That's compared to near 60 percent vaccination rates in the Dunlap and Edelstein areas - the county's most vaccinated areas by overall rate.

The remaining 24 Peoria County ZIP codes are all above 30 percent.

"We're doing a lot of targeted outreach in those neighborhoods," Hendrickson said. "We're working with the city of Peoria, likewise, to just get different groups that we need to engage with and just talk through what their concerns are."

Hendrickson said the health department is also still seeking community "champions" to share their reasons for getting vaccinated, in the hopes of influencing others.

The county's hesitancy outreach has focused on the 61603, 61604, and 61605 ZIP codes. A full 50 percent of the county's Black population surveyed earlier this year said they're hesitant to get vaccinated, as does 44 percent of the Latinx population.

70 percent of the Black population surveyed lives in the 61605 ZIP code, while 45 percent of the Latinx population lives in the 61603 ZIP code.

Vaccines are now widely available, with the Tri-County health departments and hospital systems regularly hosting clinics throughout the region. Many area pharmacies are offering walk-in vaccinations.

"It's going to continue to just being there, showing up, and educating," Hendrickson said. "And hopefully we get people to get vaccinated, and continue to do so throughout the summer."

Hendrickson acknowledged vaccine demand has fallen as supply increased, but said she considers each shot administered a success in the long battle against COVID-19.

Part of the strategy may include showing up in non-traditional locations. Hendrickson said more than 100 vaccines were administered at Alwan & Sons in Peoria Heights recently.

"That was impressive for us," she said.

The state of Illinois is currently in the "bridge" phase of reopening, with metrics on track to allow for full reopening on June 11.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.