May 04, 2021

COVID vaccines offer a shot of hope

Light at the end of the tunnel

Illinois has administered more than 9 vaccine doses (and counting) to residents against COVID-19, bringing the state closer to stemming the spread of the virus that has infected more than 1.3 million residents, killing 22,000.

Vaccination eligibility is quickly expanding, now including all individuals ages 12 and older. Find out more and find a vaccination location at

“The vaccine is the most potent weapon we have in the battle to halt COVID transmission and begin to restore so much of what we value in our daily lives,” said Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch. “Vaccination is truly a lifesaver. That’s why it’s so critical that all of us take advantage of this new opportunity to get vaccinated now. Don’t delay in making the call or going online to make your appointment.”

AFSCME members at local health departments throughout Illinois have been part of COVID-19 education and mitigation since the start of the pandemic. Now they’re part of ending it, by organizing and facilitating vaccination clinics, ensuring communities get access to the vaccine, and even administering the vaccines themselves.

AFSCME Local 1028 member Cathy Lawrence, a registered nurse who has worked at Will County’s health department for 28 years, volunteered to help the vaccination effort.

“I stepped up because I really believe in the importance of people getting the vaccination,” she said. “My heart aches for all those people who have lost friends and family members. That’s why I’m happy to be a part of this.”

Lawrence said the county has set up vaccination clinics that have administered the shot to anywhere from 400 to 1600 people a day.

“It’s so well-organized. We have a very large volunteer base helping out, including medical and non-medical personnel,” she said. “Even though we’d been through the H1N1 pandemic, we’ve never had do anything like this, and I think we’re doing a good job for the people of Will County.”

President Biden announced on May 4 that his administration aims to administer at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to 70% of American adults by the Fourth of July. So far, more than half of the adult population has received at least one dose and 40% have received two.

People are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel, Lawrence said. “It’s been so long, but now our elderly neighbors are vaccinated and I’m hopeful we can get everyone vaccinated before too long. It’s great to be a part of the solution. People are just so happy to get it.” 

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