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CENTRAL ILLINOIS — Back- to-school season is a time of energy and anticipation as families get school and sports physicals scheduled and shop for school supplies. Here’s something to add to your to-do list: get the COVID vaccine.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise across the country; and more than 97% of people becoming hospitalized with COVID-19 now are unvaccinated.
“If you and your children ages 12 and older haven’t received the COVID vaccine yet, now is the perfect time,” says Alicia Altheimer, MD, family medicine physician with HSHS Medical Group. “The first dose of Moderna or Pfizer gives you some protection right away. In three to four weeks, you can then get your second shot, which puts us right at the start of school.”
“Your teenager’s school physical is a great opportunity to talk to your family doctor about your COVID vaccine questions. If you read something about the COVID vaccine that worries you, bring it in and we’re happy to talk about it. As a primary care physician, I consider it a privilege to come alongside patients and help them make informed health care decisions for their family,” says Dr. Altheimer.
Whether your child is going to be in-person or remote learning this fall, making sure your family is vaccinated gives them the best chance at returning to the classroom safely.
“As long as many people remain unvaccinated, the virus will continue to replicate and could develop potentially dangerous variants,” says Dr. Altheimer. “Starting the school year fully vaccinated is the healthiest choice you can make for your family this fall.”
How to get the Vaccine
HSHS Medical Group offers COVID vaccines to community members who are 12 years and older. A parent or guardian must accompany those age 12-17 when they receive the vaccine, and Pfizer is the only type of COVID vaccine available to those in that 12-17 age range. Appointments are preferred to ensure adequate vaccine supply and can be made for children as well as adults at all of our vacci- nation sites. Details are listed below on how to make an appointment by phone or online.
Drive-Thru Care – Springfield Appointments available Monday, Wednesday & Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Walk-ins welcome Monday, Wednesday & Friday from 1 p.m. –4p.m.
Located in Scheels’ parking lot at 1118 Legacy Pointe Dr., Springfield, IL
Drive-Thru Care – Decatur Appointments available Tuesday & Thursday from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Walk-ins welcome Tuesday & Thursday from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
5285 E. Maryland St., Suite A, Decatur, IL 62521
We encourage anyone interested in getting the vaccine to schedule an appointment by calling 1-844-216-4707 or online using our patient portal called MyChart.
It is free and easy to create an HSHS MyChart account:
– Go to www.hshsmyhealthrecord.com
– Login or Create a MyChart account by clicking “Sign Up Now.”
– Under Quick Links, click “COVID-19 Vaccine Link.”
– Click “COVID-19 Vaccination” and answer questions on eligibility to schedule a FIRST DOSE vaccine appointment.
If appointments are full, please check back as additional days and times will be added based available vaccine supplies and clinic days.
To find an HSHS vaccine clin- ic near you, visit www.HSHS.org/vaccine.