Vaccinations to begin for Champaign County residents 75, older

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Courtesy of Carle Health

Shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrive at Carle Foundation Hospital on Dec. 16. Some Champaign County residents 75 and older will receive COVID-19 vaccines this week.

By Willie Cui, Staff Writer

Starting next week, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department will be administering COVID-19 vaccinations for Champaign County residents who are 75 or older.

During a press conference on Friday, CUPHD announced that vaccination clinics will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at two locations: 

  • The former Dress Barn store in Kohls’ Plaza (1901 N. Market St., Champaign, Illinois)
  • I-Hotel and Conference Center (1900 S. First St., Champaign, Illinois)

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were available by appointment only on a first come first served basis, according to Deputy Administrator Dr. Awais Vaid of CUPHD. 

By early Saturday, all slots across all three days had been filled at both clinics.

“We have only a limited number of vaccines available,” Vaid said. “Once that is over, we will have to stop and wait until we get more (vaccines) delivered from the state.”

Eligible residents are encouraged to register for a vaccination clinic either through the MyCarle patient portal (for the Dress Barn location), or through a CUPHD Sign Up Genius form (for the I-Hotel and Conference Center location).

However, CUPHD Administrator Julie Pryde noted that residents of assisted living or long-term care facilities should remain there, because they will be receiving vaccinations in their facilities instead.

“Pharmacies have been contracted to do those [facilities]; that has already started weeks ago,” Pryde said.

Residents who receive their vaccinations are advised that they must receive a second dose of the vaccine in order to be fully immune. 

For the Pfizer vaccine, the second dose should be given 21 days after the initial dose; and for the Moderna vaccine, the second dose should be given 28 days later, according to Vaid.

Vaid also noted that the vaccine doses cannot be “mix-and-matched.”

“If you got the Pfizer, you cannot take the Moderna, and if you got the Moderna you cannot take the Pfizer,” Vaid said.

Once both doses have been administered, vaccinated residents would be considered immune after 10-14 days.

Nevertheless, Vaid warns that it will still take months until enough people are vaccinated for the local community to achieve herd immunity.

“We need to make sure that we continue to wear masks and physically distance,” Vaid said.

While Illinois aims to include everyone 65 years old and over, Pryde said that due to vaccine shortages, the county will start with residents 75 and over as they are at “much higher risk.”

“As soon as we get more vaccine, we will just continue to have clinics, and we will continue to push the vaccine out,” Pryde said.

For the vaccination clinics next week, CUPHD plans to administer 2,500-3,000 vaccines, and are receiving more vaccines every week, according to Vaid and Pryde.

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