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WGLT's reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, which began in McLean County in March 2020.

Half Of Bloomington-Normal Hospital Workers Have Received First Vaccine Dose

Tracy gets the shot
Carle Health
Tracy Sondag, a frontline nursing manager at Carle BroMenn, was the first to receive the vaccine at her hospital, on Dec. 19, 2020.

About half of Bloomington-Normal’s hospital workers have already received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, officials said Monday.

The first health care workers in McLean County received their first dose on Dec. 18. That was the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was the first to receive emergency use authorization from the FDA. The second approved vaccine, from Moderna, also has now arrived in McLean County after winning FDA emergency use authorization on Dec. 18.

By the end of Tuesday, more than 700 frontline employees at Carle BroMenn Medical Center in Normal will have received their first vaccine dose, a Carle spokesperson said. That’s roughly half of the hospital’s employees. Most of them received the Moderna vaccine, Carle said.

“We are grateful for the work of the McLean County Health Department in vaccine distribution, especially as our number of hospitalized patients with COVID is increasing again,” said Carle spokesperson Lynn Hutley.

Indeed, just 4% of ICU beds in Bloomington-Normal are now available, and 11% of hospital beds overall, the health department reported Monday. There are now 78 people hospitalized at Carle BroMenn and the other local hospital, OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington. A record 29 people from McLean County are hospitalized. (The hospitals care for people from all over, not just McLean County.)

At OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, about half of employees had received their first vaccine dose as of Saturday, with more vaccine clinics scheduled over the next 10 days, a spokesperson said.

“OSF hospitals have received both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and are thankful for the ability to protect our (employees) so they are able to care for our communities,” the spokesperson said.’’

As of Dec. 24, nearly 113,000 first vaccine doses had been administered statewide.

Health care workers and long-term care facility residents are in the first priority group for the vaccine. Long-term care residents and staff in Illinois will start getting vaccinated beginning this week.

COVID-19 vaccine supply will increase substantially in early 2021, allowing greater distribution to the community, the McLean County Health Department said Monday.

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Ryan Denham is the content director for WGLT and WCBU.
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