OSF HealthCare administered just over 4,000 first doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the last three weeks in the Tri-County region, according to Chief Nursing Officer Sarah Overton.
OSF began vaccinating patients in mid-January in the 1B category that includes people 65 and older. Overton said nearly 100% of those patients in Peoria County have received an invitation for their vaccine appointment.
“So now we’re pivoting into second doses which means we got to have the capacity to bring everybody we just vaccinated in and also stay up with our allotment,” said Overton.
Those allotments are awarded by the county health departments to vaccination sites and rely on distribution at the state and federal levels.
OSF patient Doug Mooney said he was relieved to have the opportunity to receive his first vaccination.
“Well, it’s been a long time coming so once they called, we’re here,” said Mooney.
Lisabeth Pongracz, who manages the OSF vaccination facility in Peoria, said the vaccination process typically takes 20 minutes. Patients arrive for a scheduled appointment and are registered and screened before the vaccination. After receiving the shot, patients remain on site for a brief observation before scheduling a followup visit and then departing.
Pongracz said the clinic currently administers around 500 vaccinations per day. She credited staff and volunteers for overcoming initial challenges to ramping up resources and accommodations to meet the influx of patients.
“Now that we have the vaccine and we’re distributing it…there’s a lot of light at the end of the tunnel and we see that every day from the patients,” said Pongracz.
UnityPoint Health and Heartland Health Services also are conducting COVID-19 vaccinations for 1B populations by appointment in the Tri-County area. Several commercial pharmacies, including HyVee, Walgreens, and Kroger, also are offering vaccinations for those currently eligible.
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