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National recognition: The New York Times highlights vaccination success in the county


Jo Daviess County received some unexpected but welcome attention from The New York Times on May 15, as did Dane County, Wis., where Madison is located, in Badgerland.

Both counties, it seems are leaders when it comes to vaccinations for residents 65 years and older. It’s a point we made in an editorial several weeks ago.

Times reporter Daniel E. Slotnik noted, “Two of the most populous 90-percent-plus counties are Jo Daviess County, Ill., across the Mississippi River from Dubuque, Iowa, and Dane County, Wis., which includes Madison, the state capital.”

He added, “Elected and health officials in both counties suggested that some of the measures that they have adopted locally, such as expanding access and relying on trusted medical figures to share information about vaccines, were also reflected in the federal government’s strategy to reach those who have not received shots yet after the pace of vaccination has lagged in recent weeks.”

The Times interviewed Lori Stangl, acting Jo Daviess County Health Department administrator, and included this in the article, “In Jo Daviess County in the northwestern corner of Illinois, communication and community partnerships also played a major role, Lori Stangl, the county’s director of clinical services, wrote in an email.

“Of the roughly 6,000 seniors in the county, 96.7 percent are fully vaccinated as of Friday, (May 15) according to the C.D.C. Ms. Stangl credited extensive collaboration both within the county and with neighboring counties and states.

“‘Since Jo Daviess County borders Iowa and Wisconsin, many of our residents were able to receive vaccines there as well,’ Ms. Stangl wrote, ‘especially early on, when our allocations were low.’”

As of Monday of this week 98.4 percent of adults 65 years of age and older are vaccinated. That’s pretty remarkable.

It is worth noting once again, vaccination success here in Jo Daviess County. Lori credits communication and community partnerships as playing a key role in eventual success.

As has the health department, Midwest Medical Center has done yeoman’s work providing medical staff to talk to community groups, providing staffing for vaccination clinics as well as leading and modeling, the way.

The hospital has also sponsored weekly ads in The Gazette supporting vaccination.

These ads worked so well at the beginning that demand far outstripped supply creating a fair amount of dis-ease in the community. Residents travelled to Monroe and Platteville in Wisconsin, the Quad Cities and Dubuque and Iowa City in Iowa for vaccinations.

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With the addition of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, vaccine supplies caught up to and are now exceeding demand.

Part of this “communication and community partnerships piece” also involves Hartig Drug Stores and Walmart who have also been providing vaccinations.

As the vaccination process continued, the number of options increased.

We hope that The Gazette has played a key role in highlighting the need for vaccinations as well the pathway for securing vaccinations.

With changes in CDC (Centers for Disease Control) protocols young people 12 years of age and older are now eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. Appointments can be made on the Hartig website, Hartig.com.

A goal is to have as many young people vaccinated as possible before the next school year starts.

I also want to send a few kudos to Lori Stangl. She’s doing a great job sending us updates, which we can then share with you either on our website, galenagazette.com, or in The Gazette.

And, thanks to Midwest Medical Center, Hartig, Walmart and all the many volunteers who have helped make vaccination successful here.

Let’s keep working at it.

by P. Carter Newton,