If you’re looking for a Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 from the Rock Island County Health Department, time is running out to get one. Janet Hill, Chief Operating Officer with the department, says there are a couple of reasons why they’re not stocking that vaccine anymore.
“We’re finding that Moderna is a lot more popular and so we are not going to order any more of the Pfizer,” she said. “If you want Pfizer, you have a deadline to ask for a vaccine. It’s first come first serve and we have approximately 18-19 left at this point for those 12 and older.
Pfizer vaccines are administered on Fridays, so people who want that one should call the health department at (309) 794-7080 as soon as possible. “We do not have any plans to order Pfizer, so if you want Pfizer you can go to vaccines.gov and find providers who are offering it.” Hill says many local pharmacies offer both vaccines.
Lack of interest isn’t the only reason the department is stopping the use of Pfizer vaccines. “It’s expensive. Previously the federal government provided all vaccines to all providers,” said Hill. “Now the health department has to order vaccines and then bill insurance companies. We need to be strong stewards of the taxpayers’ money and we do not want to waste any doses, so we’re finding that most of the people who are calling are asking for Moderna.”
Hill says more Moderna vaccines are available at the health department. “We now finally have Moderna vaccines for children who have insurance. There is a federal program that allows us to have a separate stash of vaccines for children who are underinsured or do not have insurance,” she said. “We’ve had that, but we hadn’t been able to offer Moderna vaccines to families with insurance and now we can. We can offer vaccines for everyone six months and older and we are doing the Moderna vaccine for people 12 and older on Tuesdays and then for children younger than 12 they need to make an appointment on Wednesday.”
People who have had Pfizer vaccines in the past don’t need to stay with that brand, says Hill. “You do not have to go with the original primary series or even what you had the last time. There is some evidence that if you mix and match, you do get improved immunity, so it really is just what fits into your schedule and what’s available.”
“COVID is just part of respiratory illness season. We are still offering the flu vaccine next week; Halloween is our last scheduled walk-in flu clinic. Those hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1- 4 p.m.” Appointments aren’t necessary for the flu shot but are required for Moderna.
For more information on vaccines at the Rock Island County Health Department, click here.