The Will County Health Department (WCHD) is asking for patience from the senior community and their families during the still very young “Vaccine Stage” of the “Covid-19 Pandemic Response.”
Shortly before Christmas, WCHD placed a survey on its website, allowing all Will County residents who intend to take the vaccine to register their interest, and offer important information concerning age range, pre-existing health conditions, occupation, and location of their residence.
Once an individual completes this survey and the county has their information, it is important to note that YOU MAY NOT HEAR BACK FROM THE COUNTY FOR SEVERAL WEEKS, OR PERHAPS A COUPLE MONTHS. Most seniors will be taken care of in Phase 1B, and it is not known when that phase will begin in Will County. As designated on the home page of the WCHD website (willcountyhealth.org). Will County continues to be in Phase 1A, in which hospital staff and other medical services and staff around the county; such as physicians, pharmacists, optometrists, speech therapists, EMS (Emergency Medical Services) workers, dentists and hygienists, and school nurses; are being vaccinated.
While over 60,000 residents have provided information with this survey, with around 4,000 more individuals using it daily, there was an item in the news early this month that caused some concern. On January 5th, Governor Pritzker announced that Phase 1B in this state will include individuals over age 65, making Illinois a step ahead of numerous other states keeping Phase 1B at over 75.
Meanwhile, WCHD is asking the senior community and their families to exercise patience after the survey is completed. Once there is a vaccination clinic that a resident qualifies for, they will be contacted with a chance to schedule the first of two required vaccination doses (two doses are needed). It is important to emphasize that a resident will not be contacted the next day after survey completion, nor the next week, and perhaps not for a month or more, depending upon their situation.
In addition, you will not be receiving a “confirmation” that your survey was received. The survey is not a scheduling device, and scheduling will follow later when residents are contacted.
“Will County is a very large community, both in terms of population and geographic area,” said WCHD Executive Director Sue Olenek. “We also have four hospitals, a large number of outpatient medical clinics and doctors’ offices, three federally qualified health centers, numerous long-term care, assisted living, and senior residential care sights, as well as other medical personnel such as dentists, nurses, physical therapists, etc. We have a very robust medical community, which is great for our residents.
“But what that also means,” Olenek continued, “is it will be several weeks, probably close to two months, before we move into Phase 1B. Additionally, every county has different resources with which they are able to respond, so comparing where Will County is compared to other counties just doesn’t work.”
WCHD continues to offer all of its usual services at all three locations: the main branch in Joliet, the Eastern Branch Office in Monee, and the Northern Branch Office in Bolingbrook. Information about those programs is always available at willcountyhealth.org. However, “walk-in vaccinations” for COVID-19 are not available at any Will County Health Department locations. Clinics are available by appointment only.
The COVID-19 vaccination survey is available by going to the WCHD website COVID-19 Vaccine Page at willcountyhealth.org/covid-19/covid-vaccine/ and clicking on “Will County COVID-19 Vaccine Survey.”
Additional information about COVID-19; concerning symptoms, testing, approved vaccines, and more; can be found at these links:
Illinois Department of Public Health: dph.illinois.gov
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: cdc.gov/
U.S. Food and Drug Administration: fda.gov/home