COLLINSVILLE, Ill. ( -- The State of Illinois opened a mass vaccination site in Collinsville Tuesday. At full capacity, the site will be able to provide up to 1,350 doses per day.

A majority of the folks showing up, were 65 years or older and had appointments. However, health department officials have been concerned because a lot of people are showing up without appointments.

In the last few days, appointments slots were sent out to Madison County residents who were eligible. 

"These emails were sent to our population that pre-registered. That's 65 and older," Mary Kate Brown explained. 

Brown is the Deputy Director for the Madison County Emergency Management Agency. She says the mass vaccination site is focused on this vulnerable group first, before vaccinating others in the community. 

"I feel great, relieved actually," Guy Peipert said. 

Peirpert and his wife, who live in Godfrey, got their vaccines at the clinic Tuesday. He says they got their appointment emails on Sunday and the whole process was very easy. 

"We haven't been anywhere. We've pretty much stayed home, haven't been out to eat. If we find a place outdoors, we'll go out to eat, but other than that, haven't been indoors anywhere," Peipert explained. 

Peipert tells News 4 he and his wife are looking forward to their second dose in a few weeks. 

For now, county officials are asking everyone to remain patient. 

"Eventually, everyone will be able to get the vaccine who wants to get it. We've only been doing this process for a couple months, it's slow to start maybe, but it's gonna get better as we go along," Brown said. 

Health department officials tell News 4 appointments are booked for the rest of the week. They'll open up new appointments for other groups of the population, once they get enough of the elderly folks vaccinated. 

The site is at the Gateway Convention Center located at 1 Gateway Drive. 

“We are happy to partner with the Illinois National Guard and community partners throughout the county to increase our capacity to administer vaccines in Madison County, especially to our vulnerable populations,” said Toni Corona, Director of Public Health with the Madison County Health Department.

Governor Pritzker is also activating additional members of the Illinois National Guard to support Madison County in standing up additional mobile vaccination sites to reach rural and underserved communities. The county health departments will determine priority sites where mobile teams will deploy.

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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