Local COVID-19 vaccination clinics are springing up across the area this week and next.
On Monday, Kankakee Junior High School served as a COVID-19 vaccination clinic through a partnership with Kankakee School District 111 and Riverside Medical Center. Approximately 1,200 doses were available for residents looking to get their first shot of Moderna — one of the COVID vaccines available that requires two doses.
Upon entering, residents lined up to register and get their vaccinations. Volunteers from Riverside, Kankakee Community College and KSD 111’s National Honors Society were on hand to help the day run smoothly.
The clinic featured an observation area for healthcare staff to make sure there are no adverse reactions to the vaccine. This is consistent at all vaccine clinics, said Matt McBurnie, Riverside’s vice president of institutional advancement.
“The concern is if there would be a reaction of some kind — either they don’t feel well or something more severe,” he said. “That way we can attend to them right away and they’re in our care. The nice thing is we keep an eye on them, they get a drink of water and they’re already feeling better by the time they walk out.”
The location of the clinic just so happens to be the school where Riverside Medical Center’s CEO and president, Phil Kambic, graduated from high school back when it was Eastridge High School.
“It’s fantastic. I graduated a long time ago but it’s wonderful coming back to my roots,” Kambic said.
Kambic, along with the school’s director of district health clinics, Rosie Williams, both agreed that there is likely to be fatigue and soreness after receiving the vaccination. Williams said it’s normal to have soreness near the injection site.
“What I hear after talking to lots and lots of people, the worst is some mild tiredness and soreness,” Kambic said. “I have heard people say they’ve been tired for a day. So be prepared for it.”
Kambic spoke to the “tremendous” partnership with the school district and the staff at Riverside. The clinic served as an important moment for Riverside and the community.
“This is one area where people are always happy and thanking us, which is very, very nice,” he said.
“People are excited to get the vaccine, it really is life-changing for some of these folks. Especially the seniors — they’ve been sheltered in place for a year now, and this gives them some opportunity to be able to get out and get their life back.”
Riverside volunteer Grant Appell shared that Riverside is setting up more clinics and to contact the Kankakee County Health Department for more information on scheduling an appointment.
AMITA Health St. Mary’s Hospital Kankakee and the Kankakee County Health Department will operate two drive-thru vaccination clinics from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday at an AMITA facility at 21 Heritage Drive in Bourbonnais.
Both AMITA clinics will be offering the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine. Those receiving the vaccination will stay in their cars while the shot is administered, then pull into a parking spot to be monitored for 15 minutes.
Kankakee County residents who are eligible can sign up at signupgenius.com/go/stmarysjanssen.
The online registration includes a downloadable consent form to be completed and brought to an appointment, as well as directions to the clinic and a fact sheet on the vaccine.
Next week, the Illinois National Guard will bring 2,100 additional Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses to Kankakee.
Kankakee County Health Department is working with the Guardsman to host clinics April 6 and 7 at Kankakee Community College, 100 College Drive, Kankakee. The time slots and sign-up registration have not been made available yet.
Only county residents who meet vaccine eligibility rules can attend.
These clinics are an effort to reduce the travel barriers associated with equitable healthcare so that people only need to plan for one trip, according to a press release from Gov. JB Pritzker’s office.
More than 1,460 Illinois National Guard troops are assigned to COVID-19 operations in 91 different teams.
To find out more information, visit kankakeehealth.org.
Grundy and Will counties will start to run mass vaccination sites open to all vaccine-eligible Illinoisans this week, Pritzker announced Monday.