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Starting Thursday, Rock County residents will have access to a one-stop online resource that will connect them with local COVID-19 vaccine information.

The United Way Blackhawk Region has launched rockcountyshot.com, a website with local information and resources regarding COVID-19 vaccine access, eligibility, safety, cost and more, said Mary Fanning-Penny, president and CEO of the United Way chapter.

United Way officials for months have seen that residents are struggling to keep up with evolving information about vaccines, Fanning-Penny said.

Some people have become confused or frustrated because finding a vaccine appointment can take several steps or requires looking at several websites, she said.

The new website includes phone numbers and links for local vaccine providers’ waiting lists and COVID-19 hotlines.

Local health care officials and nonprofit leaders worked together to create the website, which was funded by $10,000 from the United Way’s COVID-19 action fund and $5,000 from a HealthNet grant awarded from the state to raise awareness of and access to vaccine, Fanning-Penny said.

She said participating organizations have designated representatives to keep the site’s information accurate and up to date.

“I think we all were able to recognize we have a shared, common goal of attaining herd immunity and getting as many shots in arms as possible,” Fanning-Penny said.

Equitable access to vaccine is important, she said.

“Something we were sensitive to and intentional about in creating (the website) was concern from communities of color,” Fanning-Penny said. “We know they have been disproportionately impacted by COVID.”

The website includes historical content that addresses vaccine hesitancy and mistrust of the health community, she said.

Videos on the site feature doctors and professionals of different racial backgrounds who address concerns along with information from public figures who have committed to getting vaccinated, Fanning-Penny said.

As of Wednesday, 44,753 Rock County residents—27.4% of the population—have received at least one dose of vaccine, according to data from the state Department of Health Services.

Health officials say 70% to 90% of the community needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, meaning people can return to normal life because enough people are vaccinated to prevent widespread disease.

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