A member of the Illinois National Guard takes in-take information from a resident waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine. The guard arrived March 3 at Shawnee Community College to assist with the vaccination program in the Southern Seven Health Department region. The college’s main campus in Ullin is a hosting site for the guard and is one of 18 mass mobile vaccination sites across the state.

Southern Seven Health Department will close its current COVID-19 Vaccine Waiting List at 4 p.m. on Friday.

Beginning Friday evening, residents in the seven-county region — Alexander, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski and Union — can begin scheduling themselves for COVID-19 vaccine appointments using the Illinois Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Registration system online at

Once Southern Seven closes its vaccine wait list on Friday, individuals who have already registered their name and information will still be called in order of their registration date to get scheduled for an appointment if they’re unable to book themselves using the new online system.

When visiting the IDPH online scheduling system, you will have to answer a short questionnaire that will let you know if you’re eligible to continue scheduling an appointment. If approved for an appointment, you will then be able to select a nearby vaccine clinic location to see what appointment dates and times might be available for you to schedule.

“While you don’t have to be a resident of the S7HD region to schedule a clinic at one of our mass vaccination sites, you do have to provide proof that you live or work in Illinois to get a vaccine,” noted Nathan Ryder, outreach coordinator for Southern Seven’s Contact Tracing Team. “At this time, out-of-state residents are not eligible to be vaccinated in Illinois.”

Southern Seven’s COVID-19 Vaccine Waiting List has been available on its Facebook page and website since late December.

“We are blessed with the extra personnel from the Illinois National Guard and an increase in vaccine shipments headed to southern Illinois,” Ryder said. “This means we can vaccinate a larger number of people each day at a much quicker pace. Utilizing the state’s online scheduling system while working through our current waitlist will greatly help us out.”

Shawnee Community College has partnered with the Illinois National Guard and the IDPH to provide a hosting site for continued COVID-19 vaccinations in the region. The college is providing space for the guard, which was deployed last week under Gov. JB Pritzker’s direction.

“We are honored to host the Illinois National Guard on our campus and to assist with the vaccination efforts in our region,” said SCC president Tim Taylor. “Shawnee College values our partnership with the local community and wants to ensure we take every opportunity available to provide for the needs of our district residents.”

With the opening of the state’s online scheduling system at, Southern Seven will also begin scheduling individuals who qualify under Phase 1B+ in the Illinois COVID-19 Vaccination Plan. Individuals in Phase 1B+ include people 18 to 64 years of age with specific health-complicating conditions, including: obesity, diabetes, pulmonary diseases, smoking, heart conditions, chronic kidney disease, cancer, solid organ transplant, sickle cell disease, pregnancy and/or a disability (not otherwise covered in previous categories).

Currently Southern Seven is operating two mass vaccination locations in the region from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is no charge for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine from Southern Seven. However, some other providers may charge an administrative fee for the injection. If you have health insurance, the vaccine provider will bill your insurance company for this administrative fee. If you are uninsured, you will not be charged for the administrative fee.

For information regarding COVID-19, contact Southern Seven at 618-634-2297, on Facebook or online at

Massac reaching 1,300 COVID casesMassac County was approaching the 1,300 mark on Tuesday for its total number of COVID cases since the pandemic began almost a year ago.

According to Southern Seven, there have been 1290 total cases. Statistics for the past week, from March 3-9, record 18 new cases — one younger than 10 years old; one teenager; three in their 20s; five in their 30s; one in their 40s; one in their 50s; three in their 60s; and three in their 70s.

Southern Seven has confirmed 30 deaths due COVID-19 in Massac County since August 2020. The most recent was an 80-year-old man on Friday, March 5. There have been 94 deaths in the Southern Seven region since the pandemic began.

Since the COVID vaccine first arrived on Dec. 16, 2020, 2275 vaccines have been administered in In Massac County with 512 being fully vaccinated through Tuesday.

Southern Seven vaccination numbers are reported weekly — on Friday, 12,088 vaccinations had been administered in the seven-county region since first the vaccine arrived in December.

As of Tuesday, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there were 1510 new individuals with COVID-19 identified in the state, bringing the confirmed total to 1,201,027 individuals with 20,781 deaths.

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