Where, How and When to Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine: A Primer
Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in Champaign County is ongoing.
Champaign County Seniors 65+ — regardless of their health — should contact Champaign Urbana Public Health District to get an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Although CUPHD held vaccine clinics specifically for older adults in January, the effort to deliver vaccines to that those 65 and older continues and remains a high priority.
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
Vaccine appointments may also be available via other sources such as Walgreens or CVS, but in limited supply.
In Champaign County, it is highly recommended to contact CUPHD for vaccine access.
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.)
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.
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.
What if I’m not yet 65?
As of Feb. 1, Champaign County Public Health District has opened access to the vaccine to all of Phase 1b, which includes essential frontline workers and all seniors ages 65+.
Unless you fall into one of the other categories currently being prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine, those under 65 will be waiting a bit longer to get access.
Phase 1c, which includes those under 65 with underlying health conditions, is a prioritized category.
Stay tuned for more announcements on this group and others for those 60+.
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.)