BLOOMINGTON (HOI) - The McLean County Health Department is facing the challenge of convincing younger people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Health leaders say 41% of McLean County residents are fully vaccinated now, which is the highest in the Heart of Illinois.
For people ages 25 to 29, only 30% are vaccinated and for ages 20 to 24, only 20%. Health officials say 19% of people ages 15 to 19 are vaccinated.
"So many people in that age category have already had COVID, and so they believe that they don't need a vaccination," said Marianne Manko, McLean County Health Department spokesperson.
"I really think that it's up to the adults who have an influence on people who are in their late teens and early 20's. The parents need to sit down with their kids and say, 'this is important to us,'" said Manko.
There's also an urban versus rural component to vaccination efforts, according to Manko
"Even though majority of us are located within the City of Bloomington and Normal, we have an enormous population all over the county. So getting to all of those numbers is really where one of our biggest challenges lie" Manko said.
The statewide average of those fully vaccinated in Illinois is 48%, better than the local average, but far from reaching President Joe Biden's national goal of 70% by July 4.
With falling demand for the COVID-19 vaccine, Manko said health officials may end up closing the mass vaccination site at Grossinger Motors Arena in Downtown Bloomington, but there's no timeline yet for that closure.