Our initial seven COVID-vaccination clinics have been very successful !  Through a lot of planning and effort, we have given 750 people their first doses of the COVID vaccine.

Up until now, we have filled our appointment books for the clinics "old school," with people calling or coming to reception if they wanted a vaccine, and then filling out their information on a paper form that must then be entered into a state database buy us after the clinic.  It is an inefficient, frustrating way to handle mass-vaccination events, and it leaves most of the public and all of the staff unhappy.

Starting tomorrow, people will go to a link on our website, and will be able to make their own appointments and input their own data into the database.  By reducing the number of calls we receive, we will be better able to focus on planning and operating the clinics.

We understand that some people don't have computers, or would rather not use them for booking appointments.  We will set up a system in few weeks so that they can call in and make an appointment over the phone, which will require hiring some additional part-time, temporary contact tracers. 

Both of our hospital systems, Carle and OSF, have vaccinated their staff, and are interested in helping to vaccinate the public.  Probably mostly seniors.  We hope that they start soon.

Pharmacies might also offer vaccine to the public.  The more, the merrier.

Next week, we will host a long clinic - 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. - for educators on Thursday, Jan. 28.

The following week, we will host three clinics here - 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. - on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 2-4, to give second doses to those who were vaccinated at our first three clinics, and to give a few first doses to educators, as well.

The next week, we will begin having Thursday clinics at the Fischer Theater.  The first one will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11.  With the additional seating area the Fischer offers - and with the help of nursing students - we hope to be able to vaccinate 600 people per day.

These will be big undertakings, utilizing a team of two dozen VCHD employees, nursing students, and volunteers to make them happen.  We are contracting with OSF to provide emergency medical services at our clinics.

We may try other indoor venues for future clinics, as well as outdoor venues for drive-through clinics.

I will try harder to keep our partners and the public in the loop.  Things can change quickly as new resources become available, or the State clarifies its guidelines, or obstacles emerge.  Your understanding is appreciated.

The Mobile COVID-Testing Team tested 26 people today.  They are scheduled to return four more times in the upcoming weeks.

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