FHN Experts: Get on the List and Stay Safe

March 1, 2021 – Everyone, from state officials to local healthcare organizations preparing COVID-19 vaccine clinics, is working to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible, said FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley, MBA, FACHE and Infection Preventionist Margie Kochsmier MSN, RN, CMSRN in FHN's latest pandemic update video.

“The State of Illinois is putting a full-court-press on getting vaccines out,” Gridley said. FHN is prepared to schedule and hold vaccination clinics as soon as more vaccine is available.

“We encourage everyone to put your name and eligibility information on the FHN vaccination waiting list online at fhn.org,” he said. “We use that list to contact people and schedule appointments as soon as we know more vaccine is coming.”

It's fine to be on more than one vaccination waiting list, Gridley said. Locally, Walgreens pharmacies offer vaccinations when they're available, and it's safe to get your vaccination there: “In this case, where you get it is less important than just getting the vaccination,” Gridley said, urging people to take their first opportunity to get vaccinated.

If you are on FHN's vaccination waiting list and get vaccinated elsewhere, please call 815-599-6412 to have your name removed so another person can get an appointment.

All of the COVID-19 vaccines in use are very safe, Kochsmier said, and none is “better” than another. “Each of the vaccines has been through clinical trials and studies, and has proven very effective in fighting COVID-19,” she said. Like Gridley, she encourages people to take advantage of their first opportunity to get vaccinated.

Kochsmier said that people may experience side effects ranging from a sore arm to body aches and fever after their first vaccination, but unless you experience a life-threatening side effect, you should go back for your second shot. “All of the vaccines have gone through clinical trials to make sure they're safe, and the side effects you may experience are so much safer than actually having COVID-19.”

Both Kochsmier and Gridley encourage people to stay away from crowds, keep wearing masks and practicing good hand hygiene even after being vaccinated.

“COVID-19 is still out there,” Gridley said. “We hope that people will continue to help prevent the spread of the virus so we can all get through the pandemic together.”

The latest COVID-19 update video can be viewed at www.fhn.org/coronavirus.