Southern Seven opens COVID-19 vaccinations to all adults, 18 and up
Southern Seven Health Department this week is announcing that effective immediately, it will open up COVID-19 vaccinations to any adult 18 years old and up.
The health department noted in a news release that opening up vaccinations to the general public comes at a time when COVID-19 vaccine supplies are strong, wait lists for individuals in priority groups in the region it serves have been exhausted and worrisome signs of increasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations begin to spread.
“There are other, more populated areas of the state that are still working to vaccinate folks in priority groups 1A, 1B and 1B-plus,” said Nathan Ryder, outreach coordinator for Southern Seven Health Department’s contact tracing team.
“Thanks to a steady increase in vaccine supplies in our seven county region lately and the help from our National Guard team members, we’ve been able to get everyone on our wait lists vaccinated. We have plenty of vaccine available to start providing those shots to any adult who would like to get one.”
Teens ages 16-17 years old are also eligible to receive a vaccine, but currently only the Pfizer vaccine is licensed to be administered for that age group.
Because of the extreme cold storage requirements and the relatively short shelf-life, Southern Seven Health Department currently does not offer the Pfizer vaccine at any of its mass vaccination clinics.
The health department has started a wait list for parents with teens 16-17 years old to gauge when and where they should host a clinic for that younger age group, Ryder said.
Parents or guardians can add their teen to that waitlist by calling the Southern Seven Health Department at 618-634-2297 and select option number 5.
Starting last week, Southern Seven Health Department also started accepting walk-ins at its COVID-19 vaccine clinics spread throughout the region it serves.
The walk-in vaccinations will be limited to the first 100 people, based on available vaccine supplies for that day.
Walk-ins will be accepted between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Southern Seven Health Department’s mass vaccination sites.
Individuals can still schedule themselves a guaranteed vaccine dose by booking an appointment online or by calling the Illinois Vaccine Appointment Call Center.
“We are beginning to see worrisome trends of COVID-19 case numbers on the rise in other areas of Illinois and in neighboring states,” Ryder said.
“Even more troubling is that IDPH is beginning to see the more contagious B117 variant spreading throughout the state.
“Now is the time for us to get as many people vaccinated for COVID-19 as physically possible. Just two weeks after your first vaccination you can have a great amount of immunity built up to help you fight a COVID-19 infection.”
To guarantee a vaccine dose on a given day, people can schedule themselves for a vaccine appointment using the Illinois Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 vaccine registration system online at https://covidvaccination.dph.illinois.gov
Vaccines will be provided only to Illinois residents and/or to individuals with proof of employment in Illinois. At the current time, Southern Seven Health Department will only be vaccinating adults 18 years old and up.
Currently, the health department is operating at least two mass vaccination locations in the region each day, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There is no charge to receive a COVID-19 vaccine from Southern Seven Health Department, which covers Alexander, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski and Union counties.
IDPH has established a COVID-19 vaccine appointment call center, which is open seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to midnight, and can be contacted by calling 833-621-1284.
SIH Healthcare has also established a regional call center to assist individuals who may have difficulty scheduling themselves online for a COVID-19 vaccine. Their call center may be reached by dialing 866-744-2468, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For questions regarding COVID-19 or locations of COVID-19 vaccine clinics, contact Southern Seven Health Department at 618-634-2297 or visit them on Facebook and online at www.southern7.org.