CU hospitals receive county’s first COVID-19 vaccines


Courtesy of Carle Health

Dr. Uretz Oliphant, a trauma surgeon, receives Carle Foundation Hospital’s first COVID-19 vaccination. Oliphant, who has operated on COVID-19 patients, was inoculated the morning of Thursday, Dec. 17.

By Ethan Simmons, News Editor

Hundreds of doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine have arrived in Champaign County, and they’re going to hospital staff who work with COVID-19 patients.

On Wednesday, 400 doses went to Carle Foundation Hospital, including around 150 doses to Carle Richland Memorial Medical Center in Olney and 50 doses for OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center.

At 7:30 a.m., Dr. Uretz Oliphant, a Carle trauma surgeon who has operated on COVID-19 patients, was the first Urbana-based employee to receive the vaccine.  Dr. Frederick Burke, an emergency medical physician, was the first to be vaccinated at OSF.

All vaccinations in Champaign County’s first shipment are going to local healthcare workers who deal with COVID-19 patients. Shipments of 109,000 doses of the state’s National Strategic Stockpile were sent to 77 hospitals across 45 counties Illinois on Thursday. The state’s very first shipment of 43,000 vaccinations arrived in Chicago on Monday.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was granted Emergency Use Authorization by the Food and Drug Administration last week, and 5.9 million doses for half as many people have been distributed throughout the U.S.

The FDA endorsed Moderna’s vaccine on Thursday evening.


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