CHAMPAIGN – Dr. Sameer Vohra, the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, made a visit to Champaign on Wednesday morning.
Vohra’s visit had a dual purpose: to encourage residents to receive vaccinations against COVID, RSV, and influenza — all respiratory illnesses with overlapping symptoms — and to get vaccinated himself.
Across Illinois, COVID-19 hospitalizations remain relatively low, but the state has experienced a 13% uptick. Vohra notes a rate of about 10 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents in counties such as Kankakee, Vermilion, Iroquois, and Edgar.
“We know that right here just east of Champaign Urbana are four counties that have recently seen an uptick of hospitalizations, and they’re now rated at the medium level,” said Vohra.
Vohra emphasized the importance of getting these vaccinations now, ahead of the holiday season, as a protective measure for friends and family.
“If you get your shots this week, you will have full protection by the time Thanksgiving arrives later this month,” said Vohra.
The IDPH said that the new COVID-19 vaccine is recommended and proven by the CDC to prevent outcomes like hospitalizations, deaths, and even long COVID.
As Illinois transitions away from the state of emergency, Vohra acknowledged there have been some hiccups, but emphasized that these are not common occurrences.
“I think what we’re hearing, even in those pockets where there was trouble, that access, and opportunity, you know, if they wait a little bit will come in,” said Vohra.
Vohra says the IDPH apologizes for the frustrations that come with this transition and doesn’t want anyone to get discouraged.
To address the issue, Vohra explains that the IDPH is enhancing its proactive messaging strategies.
“So that people are aware, they keep it on the front of their mind to have those engagements, figure out the plans that work for them,” said Vohra.