HSHS giving COVID-19 shots without appointment to help deal with surge
To make COVID-19 vaccine more available and combat vaccine hesitancy, Hospital Sisters Health System began to give vaccine doses without an appointment Monday at HSHS Medical Group’s drive-through clinic in the parking lot of Scheels in Springfield.
The site, at 1118 Legacy Pointe Drive, will vaccinate people 16 and older with Pfizer-BioNTech doses from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m. through Friday of this week, according to Tammy Lett, the medical group’s vice president of operations.
HSHS decided to offer “walk-in” availability of vaccine at system’s Springfield site because of increasing supplies of vaccine and because of waning demand for appointments made online, she said.
Lett, a registered nurse, said she is “very concerned” about rising number of COVID-19 cases statewide, including in Sangamon County. Making vaccine even more convenient to obtain could help stem the resurgence, she said.
“We’re trying to get out as much information as we can,” Lett said. “The vaccine is safe. Come get it.”
Vaccine will be available at the HSHS site to anyone who lives or works in Illinois. Anyone younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to get a shot.
Public health officials have said that fatigue among the public to wear masks and social distance, combined with more easily transmissible and potentially more deadly COVID-19 variants, are contributing to the resurgence of cases in Illinois and across the country, almost exclusively in the unvaccinated population.
People who haven’t been vaccinated or haven’t been fully vaccinated seem to have a “false sense of security” that they are protected because others are getting vaccinated, Lett said.
Experts say such protection, through “herd immunity,” only will be in effect once 70% to 80% or more of the population is fully vaccinated.
In Illinois, 2.9 million people, or 23% of the population, has been fully vaccinated.
In Sangamon County, 73% of people 65 and older have been fully vaccinated, but when it comes to the total population, 31% of residents have completed the required one- or two-dose regimens for the three vaccines being offered.
About 28% of Sangamon County residents 16 through 64 have been fully vaccinated, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Jeff Wilhite, spokesman for the Sangamon County Department of Public Health, said appointments are available for the department’s mass-vaccination clinic in the Orr Building at the Sangamon County Fairgrounds and at 2833 South Grand Ave. E., Springfield.
County officials yet haven’t detected a waning of interest for vaccine at the two sites, Wilhite said.
Appointments can be made for shots at both sites by going online at scdph.org. Appointments also can be made by calling (217) 210-8801 for the state fairgrounds site and (217) 321-2606 for the department’s drive-through site. The vaccine will be offered to anyone who lives or works in Illinois.
Appointments can be made at the HSHS site by creating an online HSHS MyChart account at hshsmyhealthrecord.com. Appointments also can be set up by calling (844) 216-4707.
The one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be offered to anyone 18 and older on a walk-in basis from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Third Presbyterian Church, 1030 N. Seventh St., Springfield, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at MERCY Communities Inc., 1344 N. Fifth St., Springfield, and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Illinois, 300 S. 15th St., Springfield.
Those walk-in clinics were offered as part of a partnership between Memorial Health System, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and Molina Healthcare.
A sign of the resurgence was when new coronavirus cases leaped in Illinois in the week ending Sunday, rising 23% as 23,130 cases were reported. The previous week had 18,801 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Illinois ranked 13th among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the latest week the United States added 490,277 reported cases of coronavirus, an increase of 10.3% from the week before. Across the country, 35 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.
Many states did not report cases on Easter. That will make some state-to-state comparisons inaccurate, and also some in-state week-to-week comparisons inaccurate.
Within Illinois, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Peoria, Stark and Woodford counties. Adding the most new cases overall were Cook County, with 9,604 cases; DuPage County, with 1,913 cases; and Will County, with 1,313. Weekly case counts rose in 64 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week’s pace were in Cook, Kane and DuPage counties.
Illinois ranked 17th among states in share of people receiving at least one shot, with 38.1% of its residents at least partially vaccinated. The national rate is 35.9%, a USA TODAY analysis of CDC data shows.
In the week ending Sunday, Illinois reported administering another 874,803 vaccine doses, compared to 806,466 the week before that. In all, Illinois reported it has administered 7,363,280 doses.
Across Illinois, cases fell in 30 counties, with the best declines in Madison, Vermilion and Saline counties.
In Illinois, 139 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 133 people were reported dead.
A total of 1,282,205 people in Illinois have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 21,523 people have died from the disease, according to IDPH.
State officials reported 18 additional deaths on Monday.
As of Sunday night, 1,998 people in Illinois with COVID-19 were hospitalized. Of those patients, 418 were in intensive-care units, and 177 were on ventilators.
Contact Dean Olsen: [email protected]; (217 836-1068; twitter.com/DeanOlsenSJR.