By Connor Ciecko
On Wednesday, University of Illinois Chancellor Robert J. Jones sent out a mass mail informing students, faculty and staff that the National Guard has set up a COVID-19 vaccination site in Fairbury, about an hour from Champaign-Urbana. Individuals aged 18 and up are eligible to receive a vaccine at the clinic.
“We encourage members of the University community to be vaccinated if and when they are able to do so,” Jones said. “The distribution of a vaccine is welcome news, but we must continue to be as diligent as ever in safety precautions, including regular COVID-19 testing, wearing face coverings, social distancing, hand washing and avoiding large gatherings.”
At the time of writing, there are still appointments available for later today and tomorrow afternoon.
The University is also taking appointments for all individuals aged 16 and up in Champaign county to receive the vaccine, though there are fewer time slots available due to the number of people on campus and in the community. These appointments are made at the University’s Campus Recreation Center East through student, faculty and staffs’ “MyMckinley Portal.” A number of area pharmacies are also offering the vaccine to eligible residents.
Over the last couple of weeks in the US, vaccine appointments have been hard to come by because of a mix of supply and demand issues and some recent events have been exacerbating the issue. One biotech firm in Baltimore contracted to produce the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Emergent BioSolutions, has been slow to receive certification and has so far not distributed any of the doses produced. Compounding this, about 15 million of the produced doses in storage are cross-contamination of the process was discovered.
On the other side of the country, 640 people have been unable to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for another reason: 11 people experienced a heightened reaction to the dose yesterday, prompting the clinic to close for the day to investigate. According to KKTV in Denver, the closure was taken out of “an abundance of caution,” does not reflect any issues in the vaccine.
In a release from Centura Health, the cancelled appointments are being rescheduled to Sunday, April 11.
So far, no reports of adverse reactions or issues have been reported in Champaign county.