Where, How and When to Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine: A Primer
UPDATED MARCH 5, 2021
Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in Champaign County is ongoing.
Champaign County Seniors 65+ — regardless of their health status — can contact Champaign Urbana Public Health District to get an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Even as access expands to other groups, CUPHD continues to provide vaccines for all priority groups according to the state of Illinois distribution plan. It is possible for others to help older adults get appointments.
HOW TO: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (217) 239-7877
CUPHD is now releasing appointments on Mondays.
Clinics are located at a variety of sites including Rantoul, CUPHD’s office in north Champaign, and Christie Clinic at the Fields in southwest Champaign. Appointments are available as vaccine is available.
Another resource is Carle, which allows its patients who are vaccine-eligible to get appointments online or via phone. You don’t have to be a Carle patient to call.
The Vaccine Clinic at Kohl’s Plaza at 1901 N Market St. Champaign is by appointment only.
- For fastest service, schedule through MyCarle.
- You may call (217) 902-6100. Please note that you may have an extended wait time if they are experiencing high call volumes.
- To receive notification of when vaccine appointments are available in your area, sign up here.
As weeks continue and supply grows, more “pop-up” and “walk-in” clinics may be scheduled. CUPHD is also working to make sure those who are homebound have access to the vaccine.
Vaccine appointments are now available via Walgreens, and may soon expand to other pharmacies. However, they are still in limited supply. Walgreens serves patients regardless of where they live; so it is possible to make an appointment in another county.
What if I’m not yet 65?
Champaign County residents 16-64 years of age or older with underlying health conditions, as defined by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), or disabilities are now eligible. Underlying health conditions are:
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
- Heart Condition
- Immunocompromised State from a Solid Organ Transplant
- Pulmonary Disease
- Sickle Cell Disease
Still eligible are:
- Healthcare Personnel: Hospital and Non-Hospital Settings
- Residents age 65 and older with or without underlying health conditions
- Residents age 40-64 with underlying health conditions
- First Responders
- Corrections Officers
- Education (in-person status not required)
- State of Illinois approved Early Childhood and Licensed Daycares.
- K-12 (public, private, and parochial) Schools.
- Essential frontline workers who work or live in Champaign County:
- Grocery Store Workers: Baggers, Cashiers, Stockers, Pick-Up, Customer Service.
- Food and Agriculture Workers: Processing, Plants, Veterinary Health, Livestock Services, Animal Care.
- Shelter/Adult Day Care Workers.
- Postal Service Workers (includes UPS, Amazon, etc.)
- Manufacturing Workers: Industrial production of goods for distribution to retail, wholesale or other manufacturers.
- Public Transit Workers: Flight Crew, Bus Drivers, Train Conductors, Taxi Drivers, Para-Transit Drivers, In-Person Support, Ride Sharing Services.
Not in Champaign County?
Carle has aggregated information about vaccine access in other counties, including all counties that border Champaign.
What happens at my appointment?
Some paperwork is required at the time of appointment. If possible, it is recommended to print out the forms in advance and bring them to the appointment. However, forms will be available onsite.
What safety precautions are being taken?
Patients are asked not to come more than 15 minutes before their scheduled appointments. Face coverings are required at vaccination sites by all. Patients also will need to practice social distancing.
Can a patient bring a support person?
Yes, but patients are being asked to limit the number of individuals in their party that are not receiving the vaccine.
What should a patient wear?
Wear clothing that allows easy access to the upper portion of the arm for the injection.
Do patients have to pay for the vaccine?
There is no cost to individuals to get a COVID vaccine. You may be asked to bring your insurance card if you have one, but you will not be turned away if you do not have insurance.
Which vaccine will patients get?
In Champaign County, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are available. Patients are not able to choose, they receive whatever is available. The only difference is the waiting time between the first and second dose. The one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine may be on the way soon, but a timeline is unknown.
What about the second dose?
Those who attend a clinic hosted by CUPHD for the first dose will receive a vaccination card that has a second date that is a reminder of the earliest they will be eligible for a second dose.
CUPHD will email those who register with a valid email address to book the second dose appointment. If a patient does not have an email address, CUPHD will call to book an appointment.
If a patient is overdue for the second dose and has not heard from CUPHD to schedule an appointment, please call 217-239-7877 or email email@example.com.
Need a ride to an appointment?
The Senior Resource Center at Family Services of Champaign County has mask-wearing volunteers who will drive seniors age 60+ to medical appointments, the bank, grocery store and pharmacy to keep them safe when they do need to venture out for an essential errand. Call 217-352-5100 to get connected. (More info here.)
The following information is provided by the Illinois Department on Aging. Some of this information is also available in Polish, Spanish, Hindi, Chinese, Russian, by following the above link.
Q: Why Should I Take the Vaccine?
A: Older adults have a higher risk for severe illness and hospitalization if they get COVID-19. Research has demonstrated that the vaccine is 95% effective in preventing COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine will help keep you, your family, and your community healthy and safe.
Q: Is the Vaccine Safe?
A: We understand that some people may be concerned about getting vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine was tested with thousands of participants to generate scientific data and other information in order to determine its safety and to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
Q: What are the Side Effects?
A: Short-term side effects are mild and may include fever, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, chills and sore arms. They will go away in a few days, but they are normal and a sign your body is working to build up protection against the virus.
Myth vs. Fact
Myth: If I get vaccinated for COVID-19 I’ll be more vulnerable to other illnesses.
Fact: While the COVID-19 vaccine will work to teach your immune system to recognize and protect against coronavirus, it is not proven to make you vulnerable to other illnesses.
Myth: After I get the vaccine, I no longer have to wear a mask.
Fact: While health experts learn more about the protection of COVID-19 vaccines, it will be important for everyone to continue to wear a mask, wash hands often, and practice social distancing.
The State of Illinois has prepared a longer vaccine FAQ. This is available translated into Chinese, Hindu, Arabic, Tagalog, and Spanish.
(Editor’s note: the information compiled here is directly from sources including Champaign Urbana Public Health District, Illinois Department of Public Health, Carle, and the CDC. This information changes frequently. We will do our best to keep this up to date.)