SPRINGFIELD — The number of COVID-19 vaccination locations across Illinois continues to increase.
A total of 41 new locations have been added across the state since Tuesday, Jan. 26, for a total of 310 locations open to the public. Among them is the Southern Seven Health Department, which covers Alexander, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski and Union counties.
At this time, vaccinations are being distributed in phases and receiving one is by appointment only. Appointment times are extremely limited due to the limited amount of vaccine.
Citizens can get on the S7HD Vaccine Registry Form by visiting www.southern7.org. From that sign-up list, registrants will be called when an appointment opening is available in their county.
Southern Seven officials suggest that after registering, citizens put the health department's number — 618-634-2297 — in their phone contacts.
Appointments are being scheduled first for those in Phase 1A (first responders and health care workers), followed by those in Phase 1B (those over age 65 and essential workers) based on the date they signed-up.
“Vaccination clinics are not open to the public at this time,” explained Shawnna Rhine, Southern Seven’s community outreach coordinator. “People are getting very anxious; we ask everyone remain patient.”
More than 3.2 million Illinoisans are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in Phase 1B.
For questions regarding COVID-19, its vaccine or registering, contact Southern Seven at 618-634-2297 or on Facebook or online at www.southern7.org.
Southern Seven seeks vaccine clinic volunteers
With the number of people requesting the COVID-19 vaccine from the Southern Seven Health Department increasing daily, so does the need for volunteers at the vaccine clinics.
As of Feb. 2, over 8000 Southern Seven county residents have registered to be called for an appointment to get the vaccine.
The Southern 7 Medical Reserve Corps (S7MRC) is a group of locally organized healthcare and non-healthcare volunteers working to strengthen the health and safety of the community. The goal of the S7MRC is to prepare volunteers before a natural disaster or national incident.
One major activity the S7MRC is currently active is helping Southern Seven with the Mass Vaccination Point of Distribution (MVPOD) clinics in the lower seven counties.
“Several S7MRC members have already volunteered and worked at some MVPODs and more are needed at nearly every level of the vaccination process, except for vaccine administration,” Rhine said.
Because S7MRC volunteers do not vaccinate the public themselves, anyone is eligible to be a volunteer. All applicants will be vetted through a background check and must complete required training prior to volunteering at a clinic. There is no set time commitment to be a S7MRC volunteer.
To learn more about becoming a S7MRC volunteer, contact coordinator Bobi Cavins at 618-634-2297 ext. 123.
CDC: COVID-19 vaccine products shouldn't be interchanged
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a cautionary statement regarding the mixing of COVID-19 vaccines.
The CDC is not recommending the practice except in certain circumstances, such as shortage of vaccine or unknown first dose.
Currently, Southern Seven is administering the Moderna vaccine in two doses, and will continue for the foreseeable future.
While the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) does not state a product preference
of the authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, Moderna or Pfizer can be used when indicated. However, these are not interchangeable with each other or with other COVID-19 vaccine products.
“The safety and efficacy of a mixed-product series have not been evaluated. Both doses of the series should be completed with the same product,” explained Rhine. “Recommendations may be updated as further information becomes available or other vaccine types are authorized.”
The CDC advises that every effort should be made to determine which vaccine product was received as the first dose in order to ensure completion of the vaccine series with the same product. In exceptional situations where the first-dose vaccine product cannot be determined or is no longer available, any available mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, either Moderna or Pfizer, may be administered at a minimum interval of 28 days between doses to complete the vaccination series. If two doses of different mRNA COVID-19 vaccine products are administered in these situations (or inadvertently), no additional doses of either product are recommended at this time.
State website provides one-stop access to information
CHICAGO — As part of the COVID-19 Vaccination Administration Plan, Gov. JB Pritzker has announced a new portal on coronavirus.illinois.gov to provide residents with easily accessible information about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Coronavirus.illinois.gov provides eligible residents with nearby vaccination sites, information on how to make an appointment to receive the vaccine, updates on the state’s plan and eligibility, and answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Massac County goes below 100 active COVID cases
According to Southern Seven statistics, Massac County has 94 active COVID-19 cases.
From Jan. 27 through Feb. 2, there have been 64 new cases — one below 5 years old; one below 10; 11 teenagers; seven in their 20s; 10 in their 30s; nine in their 40s; seven in their 50s; nine in their 60s; six in their 70s; and one 80 or above.
The total number of COVID-19 cases for Massac County now totals 1139; of those, 1019 are recovered.
This is the fifth week in a row there were no deaths in Massac County confirmed as the result of COVID-19. Southern Seven has confirmed 26 deaths due COVID-19 in Massac County since August.
Southern Seven reports 79 deaths in its region since the start of the pandemic. There have been 6153 cumulative total cases in the region.
As of Jan. 29, Southern Seven has administered 3569 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the lower seven counties since vaccine first arrived on Dec. 16, 2020. Of that number, 557 of them have been in Massac County.
As of Tuesday, according to the IDPH, there were 2304 new individuals with COVID-19 identified in the state, bringing the confirmed total to 1,130,917 individuals with 19,306 deaths.