Distribution of the COVID vaccine continued in Morgan County this week.
Over 200 individuals were registered to receive their first dose on Tuesday in Jacksonville during a restricted distribution event conducted by the Morgan County Health Department in conjunction with the Jacksonville Fire Department and Jacksonville Morgan County Office of Emergency Management.
Vaccinations were administered to front line healthcare workers who fall within the Illinois Department of Public Health’s 1a allocation group including health care workers in hospitals, medial outpatient facilities, skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, among many others.
According to Phil McCarty, Director of the Jacksonville Morgan County Office of Emergency Management, Morgan County was on pace to have administered over 700 first round doses of the vaccine by week’s end, with healthcare workers at Passavant Area Hospital set to begin receiving the second dose by the end of week.
Savana Long, a nursing student in her senior year was on hand to receive her first dose of the vaccine. Long began her nursing studies at MacMurray, and now is completing her degree in the Illinois College program and will soon be in clinical studies on the front lines. She says it took some time for her to decide she would in fact opt to receive the vaccine.
“You know, I had a lot of controversy of course, getting the vaccination. I at first said “no way, not going to get it.” And then, just thinking about it a little more, I did get like quarantined a few times this semester I was out of class and that really, I feel like put me behind.
If I can do my part and get vaccinated and hopefully we can all get that immunity so we’re not having to quarantine, get out of class. Everyone needs to be in class or out in the community being social again. If I can do my part I definitely want too.”
Not all individuals included in the first round of 1a vaccinations treat patients in healthcare settings. John Cody of Buchanan and Cody Funeral Home in Jacksonville says he has had many shots over his lifetime, and he didn’t even feel his first dose of the COVID vaccine.
Cody says he is glad the vaccine is available as has been concerned about the possible exposure to the virus he and his coworkers face on each day.
“We are facing this on multiple levels. You know, we are out at nursing homes and hospitals. We know that we have had people that have had COVID. We know we have had people that has it and didn’t know it. I am certain that we had people who walked though our front door that we needed to talk to that had it and didn’t know it. So it is something that is very worrisome to me.
I’ve been taking it very seriously the whole time. The first couple of months we were pretty busy and every family we served we learned something else that we couldn’t do, that had been changed or altered. So, it’s been hard on us but much harder on the families that we served.”
Morgan County Health Officials are encouraging community members to pay attention to local media, social media, and the Morgan County Health Department’s website for updates for people who might next be eligible for the vaccine.
Administrator of the Morgan County Health Department Dale Bainter says the fight against COVID-19 would not be at this point were it not for a lot combined effort.
“Public Health and achievements in vaccines, preventable disease are a good example of what the COVID vaccine is providing in our community and can get us back to a form of normal in the near future.
So I think in Morgan County it has been successful. It’s been a good partnership between all of our health care providers from Passavant Area Hospital, our local emergency management agency, our city resources, our county resources and our state resources and the roll out from state level, IDPH, it has gone very smoothly.”
In a joint update of the continued vaccination effort Tuesday, Morgan County heath officials said the federal government has a partnership with CVS and Walgreens to provide COVID-19 vaccine for the long term care community and staff within Morgan County. They say this program is currently underway and those in the long term care locations within Morgan County will be getting their first doses within the next two weeks.