COVID-19 Vaccination

  • 12,741,080
    Total Illinois population
  • 8.0%
    People fully vaccinated in Illinois
  • 120,721
    OSF patients in counties where we can vaccinate
  • 15,121
    OSF patients fully vaccinated

Updated 3/4/21

Vaccinations against COVID-19 are an important tool in the fight against COVID-19.

The health and well-being of our patients is our top concern. OSF HealthCare is working closely with local health departments in Illinois and Michigan on a phased approach to vaccination, starting with those most at risk.

OSF also understands concerns individuals may have regarding the development of the vaccines and how that adheres to our Catholic values.

See the FAQs to learn more.

Who Can OSF Vaccinate?

OSF embraces the opportunity to vaccinate our patients. Still, we must rely on the vaccine rollout plan from local health departments. Those plans differ county to county and determine how many vaccine doses OSF receives. In some counties, the local health department is handling all vaccinations and OSF is not receiving any vaccine. 

Illinois' Phase 1b

Under Illinois' Phase 1b, OSF is offering vaccines to our patients who are age 65 and older and who reside in counties where we have received the vaccine from the local health department. Those patients who are eligible for vaccination are prioritized based on certain medical conditions they have that could put them at greater risk of serious illness if they contract COVID-19. 

If you’re eligible and live in the following Illinois counties, OSF will contact you by phone or a message in OSF MyChart:

  • Cook County
  • Knox County
  • Livingston County
  • McLean County
  • Madison County
  • Peoria County
  • Tazewell County
  • Vermilion County
  • Winnebago County
  • Woodford County

Illinois' Phase 1b Plus

In addition, OSF will be offering vaccinations to residents who qualify under the state’s Phase 1b Plus expanded eligibility. This expansion includes residents age 16 and older with specific health conditions who weren't otherwise covered in previous eligibility categories.

If you’re eligible under the expanded Phase 1b and are a patient living in the following Illinois counties, OSF will contact you by phone or a message in OSF MyChart:

  • Champaign
  • Peoria
  • Tazewell
  • Vermilion
  • Woodford

Vaccination Appointments

Delays in vaccine shipments to local health departments may require OSF to reschedule vaccine clinic appointments due to a lack of inventory. 

Please don’t call our hospitals or physician offices for vaccination appointments. We appreciate your understanding and patience.

Other Counties and Expanded Eligibility

Some local health departments in Illinois are handling public vaccination without using OSF to administer the vaccine to residents.

If you live in a county other than the ones listed above and are eligible under Phase 1b and Phase 1b Plus, please contact your  local health department, a retail pharmacy or find a public vaccination site.

If you're an essential worker in any county, please contact your local health department to schedule a vaccination.

Essential workers include first responders, K-12 education workers, food and agriculture, manufacturing, corrections workers and inmates, USPS workers, public transit workers, grocery store workers and staff at shelters and day cares.

Other Vaccine Options

Retail pharmacies, of which many receive vaccine supply directly from the federal government, are providing vaccines by appointment. These are the same vaccines administered by local health departments and health care systems.

To learn more and find a pharmacy near you, click here.

Be Responsible

swiss-cheeseA Swiss Cheese Model to Pandemic Control

As vaccinations are given, we must continue to follow public health guidance to control and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Frequently Asked Questions

Catholic Values

  • What is the position of OSF on the vaccines and the use of fetal cells?
  • As a Catholic or person of faith, you may have questions about whether the development of the COVID-19 vaccines was ethical. You may even wonder about the content of the vaccines themselves.

    For years, the Catholic Church has been concerned about fetal cell lines used for the development and culturing of vaccines. The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna first raised concerns because fetal cell lines were used for testing purposes, but not in their production. However, an abortion-derived cell line was used in the development, testing and production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. No fetal cells or tissue, however, are used in the vaccine itself.

    At this point in the pandemic emergency, OSF will not turn away the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if it is the only option available for our patients. We will communicate to patients which vaccine they are receiving and they can make their own choice as to whether to accept it.

    Both the Vatican and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have released statements for people of faith to consider. The Vatican has stated that in this pandemic emergency, a wide range of vaccines that are available now may be used to protect ourselves and others. The USCCB has stated that being vaccinated is an act of charity that serves the common good. When an individual does not have a choice in which vaccine to receive, it is morally acceptable to receive any of the vaccines with a clear conscience.

    The following resources can provide you with additional information on this subject:

General COVID-19 Vaccine Questions

  • What do we know about COVID-19 vaccines?

  • The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) on December 11, 2020, granted Pfizer-BioNTech emergency use authorization (EUA) for its COVID-19 vaccine to be used in people age 16 and older.

    The FDA on December 18, 2020, granted EUA to Moderna for its COVID-19 vaccine to be used in people age 18 and older.

    On February 27, 2021, the FDA granted EUA to Johnson & Johnson for its vaccine to be used in people age 18 and older.

    Clinical test results show great promise for  all the vaccines. Vaccines from other companies remain in development or in clinical trials. Great research and review is given to these vaccines by the FDA.

    Vaccine Effectiveness Number of Doses Possible Side Effects More Info
    Pfizer About 95% effective in trials 2 (second dose 21 days later) Fever, headache, redness around the location of the shot, muscle pain or muscle aches

    Fact Sheet

    Clinical Trial Info

    Moderna About 95% effective in trials 2 (second dose 28 days later) Fever, headache, redness around the location of the shot, muscle pain or muscle aches

    Fact Sheet

    Clinical Trial Info

    Johnson & Johnson About 66.9% effective in trials         1 dose Pain around location of the shot, headache, fatigue, fever, muscle pain

    Fact Sheet

    Clinical Trial Info

  • Why should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Vaccination will help keep you from getting COVID-19.

    A vaccine teaches your body’s immune system to recognize a virus or bacteria so that you can fight off an infection without getting sick.

    Read more from the CDC.

  • Will I have to pay for my COVID-19 vaccine?

  • The COVID-19 vaccination is free, as it was purchased by the federal government.

    Health care providers, however, are allowed to charge an administrative fee. 

    This administrative fee helps cover costs associated with things such as wages for the health care workers who are giving the shots and documenting your patient information, and for storing and transporting the vaccine for use at vaccination clinics. Insurance plans and governmental payers are required to pay for the administration fees with no out-of-pocket expense to you.

    OSF HealthCare also believes no individual should have to pay for this administrative fee. If you do not have insurance, OSF will not pass the administration costs on to you. 

    If you receive a bill for the administrative fee or a notice from your insurance company that the administrative fee is being applied toward your deductible, please contact OSF HealthCare at (800) 421-5700 and a financial navigator will assist you.

    At OSF HealthCare, we are dedicated to serving you with the greatest care and love.

  • How do the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work?
  • COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without getting sick. With all types of vaccines, the body is left with a supply of antibodies that will remember how to fight that virus in the future.
    Watch Video

    Read more from the CDC.

  • What kind of vaccine is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

  • The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a viral vector vaccine that uses a type of virus, such as one that causes the common cold. The vector (the virus with its protein stripped out) carries a gene from the coronavirus into human cells, which then produce the spike protein of the coronavirus, but not the virus itself.

    Like mRNA vaccines, it’s the spike protein that primes the immune system to fight off future exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.

  • Will there be enough vaccine for everyone?

  • The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available.

    Because the vaccines are so new, manufacturers have not yet been able to produce enough vaccines for everyone who wants one. The vaccine will become available to more people as the supply increases. It is difficult to predict exactly when that will happen.

  • Who is prioritized to receive vaccines first?

  • At this time, the supply of the COVID-19 vaccine is limited.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has laid out a phased approach to vaccine distribution.

    Vaccinations began with health care workers and people who live in long-term care facilities. They just expanded to older adults (ages 65 and older) and other essential workers. OSF is vaccinating our 65+ patients beginning the week of January 18 in some of our communities. We are reaching out to our patients through OSF MyChart or by phone.

    These plans were developed at the state and federal level. Local health departments oversee the distribution of the vaccine in our communities. Because of this, vaccine availability may vary from state to state and county to county.

    For the most up-to-date information about vaccine availability near you, check with your local health department:

    Find a list of all other local health departments in Illinois here.

  • What should I do as I wait to be contacted about getting the vaccine?

  • You should prepare yourself and educate yourself about the risks of getting COVID-19 and the benefits associated with getting vaccinated. If you are an OSF patient, we encourage you to create an OSF MyChart account if you don’t already have one. This way, you can quickly and easily schedule your vaccination when you are given the opportunity.

  • What should I do before my vaccine?

  • Talk to your doctor about getting a vaccine for COVID-19. Remember to bring your mask, and any other additional identification materials required by your vaccination center.

  • What can I expect at my vaccine visit?

  • Wear your mask into the vaccine clinic and during your vaccination. You should receive a vaccination card or printout that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it and where you received it. You will also get a paper or an electronic version of a fact sheet from the manufacturer of the authorized COVID-19 vaccine that you received. Make sure you review this and ask any questions you may have before leaving. If your vaccine requires two doses, make sure to schedule your second dose.

  • Which lasts longer – immunity after the vaccine or immunity from having been infected with COVID-19?

  • We won't know how long immunity lasts after vaccination until there is more data on how well COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. We don't know how long immunity lasts after someone has a COVID-19 infection, however this is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting vaccinated even after having COVID-19.  

  • What percentage of the population needs to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity?

  • Herd immunity means that enough people in a community are protected from getting a disease because they've already had the disease or they've been vaccinated. Herd immunity makes it hard for the disease to spread from person to person, and it even protects those who cannot be vaccinated, like newborns. The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease. The CDC and other experts are studying herd immunity and will provide more information as it is available. Public health officials have a goal of vaccinating 80% of the population to achieve herd immunity.

  • Is the COVID-19 vaccine like the flu vaccine where you have to get it every year?

  • The degree to which these vaccines protect against COVID-19 one or two years after vaccination will be determined with more data and time. Trial participants will continue to be monitored, so more will be learned, but it's not yet known whether booster doses will be needed.

  • Should I take any over-the-counter pain medications prior to getting vaccinated?

  • The COVID-19 vaccines may cause side effects, such as pain and swelling at the injection site, along with fever, chills, headache and fatigue. These symptoms are signs that your immune system is responding as it’s supposed to.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend taking medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil) or antihistamines (Benadryl) prior to receiving the vaccine. Taking these medications may mask any existing symptoms you may be experiencing in addition to any allergic reaction you may have following the vaccination.

    You can take these over-the-counter medications to relieve post-vaccination side effects if you have no other medical reasons that prevent you from taking these medications normally.

Vaccine Safety

  • Should I be concerned that the vaccines have been put on the ‘fast track?’

  • No. Fast track does not mean cutting corners or skipping over clinical trials.

    Clinical trials include studying thousands of individuals who volunteered to get the COVID-19 vaccine before it was FDA approved. They were watched over by the medical scientists to determine how well the vaccine worked to create immunity from COVID-19.

    Fast track – in the case of COVID-19 vaccines – is all about the intense focus to create a vaccine that is in great need.

  • How do we know these vaccines are safe?

  • Prior to the FDA granting EUA, the safety and efficacy of the vaccines were reviewed by scientists and public health experts. These include:

    • Panels of independent experts retained by the companies
    • FDA scientific staff
    • An independent panel of experts brought together by the FDA
    No serious safety concerns have been reported for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

    Once a vaccine is released to the public, the CDC and the FDA continue to monitor individuals who receive the vaccine for any safety issues.
  • Does the vaccine cause side effects?

  • After COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some side effects. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection.

    Mild to moderate side effects reported during clinical trials were more common following the second dose with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Those side effects include fever, headache, redness around the location of the shot and muscle pain or muscle aches.

    During clinical trials with the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine, the most common side effects were pain around the injection site, headache, fatigue and muscle pain.

    The CDC states that acetaminophen (Tylenol) and/or ibuprofen (Advil) may be taken AFTER you receive the vaccine if you develop side effects such as fever, chills, muscle aches or pain, or reddening of the skin at the injection site. Taking any over-the-counter pain relief medication prior to receiving the vaccine is not recommended. Consider applying ice locally to the injection site if you experience any swelling or soreness.

    Please consult your personal physician for questions.

  • I take medication for a chronic condition. Will the vaccine interfere with that medication?

  • Overall, the COVID-19 vaccine has very little drug-to-drug interaction. In fact, very few vaccines do. It would be safe to receive the vaccine in combination with most medications. If you have concerns or questions, however, you should reach out to your doctor or your pharmacist so they can answer your questions.

Supply & Availability

  • Who will get the COVID-19 vaccine first?

  • Led by the CDC, public health agencies are following a phased approach to vaccination. This begins with those who are highest risk of contracting COVID-19 or developing severe disease.

    CDC guidance is based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an independent panel of medical and public health experts. They make their recommendations with these goals in mind:

    • Decrease death and serious disease as much as possible.
    • Preserve function of society.
    • Reduce the extra burden COVID-19 is having on people already facing disparities.

    Read more from the State of Illinois , State of Michigan and CDC .

  • What is OSF doing?
  • OSF is currently offering vaccines to patients 65 and older. Some other groups are prioritized for vaccines, such as health care workers and some other essential workers.

    We are individually contacting patients who are eligible to receive a vaccine to schedule their appointment. Unfortunately, we are unable to schedule any other COVID-19 vaccinations at this time.

    While the goal is to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as doses are available, it's important to know that not everyone will be able to get vaccinated right away. Many of us will have to wait. Some may have to wait a few weeks, while others may wait much longer.

    Available doses of vaccine will increase substantially throughout early 2021. Unfortunately, we have no specific timeline to know when vaccines will be available to specific populations.

    State and local health departments are responsible for rolling out a vaccination plan to the public. If you believe you are eligible to receive a vaccine and you have not been contacted by OSF, please call your local health department for more information about vaccine resources in your community.

  • Why can’t OSF just buy more COVID-19 vaccines to administer to patients?

  • The COVID-19 vaccines were purchased by the federal government and are distributed to states and local health departments. During flu season or with the shingles, for example, OSF can purchase additional vaccines when supplies run out. This is not the case with the COVID-19 vaccine.

    OSF is just the vehicle to administer COVID-19 vaccinations and can only use the supply it is allocated by the states and local health departments. It also must adhere to the guidelines set forth by the states and local health departments on what members of the population are eligible to receive the vaccine and at what point their eligibility begins.

  • Can I put my name on a wait list?

  • Right now, we are unable to create a wait list for COVID-19 vaccinations.

    We are working hard at OSF HealthCare to prepare for public COVID-19 vaccinations when the health departments give us the go-ahead. We will keep the public informed when we are able to begin vaccinations at our health care locations.

    We encourage you to sign up for OSF MyChart if you don’t already have an account. OSF MyChart gives you easy access to tools to manage your health.

    You can log in on your computer or download the MyChart app to schedule appointments, view test results and send messages your OSF HealthCare provider.

  • Do the OSF retail pharmacies offer the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • At this time, the OSF Pharmacy locations do not offer a vaccination program. Other retail pharmacies are beginning to receive COVID-19 vaccine for administering to the public. Administering vaccines is not a new service for retail pharmacies, as they offer a variety of adult vaccine programs. While we encourage our patients to seek out a vaccination through OSF when possible, getting vaccinated is the main goal and having more locations to provide vaccinations gives people more opportunity to do that.

  • I have a chronic disease and am 65 years old, but I haven’t been contacted about getting the vaccine. Why not?

  • OSF is prioritizing patients 65 and older who have chronic conditions that put them at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. As part of the prioritization, in some regions where OSF is holding vaccine clinics, we are looking at patients’ health histories to determine how many chronic conditions (comorbidities) an individual has. Patients with numerous comorbidities are prioritized over those who may just have one existing chronic condition.

I'm Not Sure I Qualify

  • Who should not receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

  • The FDA has not authorized a COVID-19 vaccine for children under the age of 16.

    You should not proceed with a COVID-19 vaccine if you:

    • Have received any other immunization in the last 14 days
    • Have received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma in the last 90 days
    • Are currently experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, such as a cough, fever or headache
    • Have experienced anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction) to a COVID-19 vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccines
    Talk with your doctor if you:
    • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
    • Have a compromised immune system due to a health condition or treatment
  • Can I get the vaccine if I’ve previously received passive antibody therapy for the treatment of COVID-19?

  • Yes, you can be vaccinated, but you must defer vaccination for at least 90 days if you have received COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapy (bamlanivimab or casirivimab/imdevimab) OR convalescent plasma. There is no recommended minimum interval between non-COVID-19 antibody therapies and the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

  • What if I received a vaccine recently for another disease, such as pneumonia or shingles. Can I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Yes, you can still get the COVID-19 vaccine, but there should be at least 14 days in between the vaccination you received for another disease and being vaccinated for COVID-19.

  • I participated in an investigational trial for a COVID-19 vaccine. What should I do?

  • If you participated in an investigational trial for a COVID-19 vaccine and are unsure if you received the vaccine or a placebo, you need to contact the trial to ask them to unblind what you received during the trial. This will provide you the information to tell you if you’ve actually been vaccinated.

  • Should I get the vaccine if I’m pregnant or planning to get pregnant?

  • The FDA recommends that if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to get pregnant, you should discuss your options with your health care provider.

    When it comes to fertility, experts are more concerned about the impact of the virus itself rather than the vaccine.

    For men, researchers identified the SARS-CoV-2 virus can enter the testes, but it remains unclear how significant the impact is on male fertility at this time. Because the COVID-19 vaccines do not use the live virus, we do not expect them to have an impact on male fertility.

    For women, infertility is not known to occur as a result of the COVID-19 virus or the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

    Reports on social media that claim the vaccines could cause infertility or are involved in the formation of the placenta are false, and the FDA is concerned that this misinformation may cause women to avoid vaccination unnecessarily.

  • What if I have tested positive for COVID-19?

  • COVID-19 vaccines should be offered regardless of a person’s prior positive COVID-19 infection. However, someone with a current COVID-19 infection should wait until recovering from all symptoms and until they are cleared to discontinue isolation before receiving the vaccine.

    Current evidence suggests that reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. Therefore, people may delay vaccination until the end of that 90-day period if desired, according to the CDC.

After Receiving the Vaccine

  • If I get a COVID-19 vaccine, do I still need to wear a mask around others?

  • Yes. Vaccines are one of many tools to help stop this pandemic.

    It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions.

    • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others
    • Stay at least 6 feet away from others
    • Avoid crowds
    • Wash your hands often
  • How long after the vaccine am I immune?

  • It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it's possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and still get sick.

  • How long will the vaccine protect me?

  • It is too soon to know how long a vaccine will last. It is currently being researched.
      

  • What do I do after my vaccine visit?

  • Continue to wear your mask, practice physical distancing and wash your hands frequently.

Additional Resources

OSF HealthCare is your trusted source for information about COVID-19 and vaccines. Check back here as we update with more answers to questions and details on the vaccination rollout. Other helpful resources:

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