OSF HealthCare recommending flu shots, COVID-19 boosters

The health system is encouraging patients to get newly updated booster and flu shots with ease.
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 6:15 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The fall season is here which also means an increase in community members getting sick.

“Get it. It’s good for you. It keeps you healthy and it keeps everyone around you healthy,” Juanita Leslie, an OSF HealthCare patient who was in line to get the flu shot.

As the sickly season surges on and preventative measures are ready for the taking, OSF HealthCare Medical Center opens its drive-thru clinic Wednesday. This gives OSF patients the opportunity to schedule an appointment and get their flu shot.

“Every year the flu vaccine is tweaked a little bit to hopefully protect us against the most common strands that we think are going to be coming out,” said Dr. Sarah Whelan, a family medicine doctor at OSF HealthCare Medical Center.

The drive-thru flu shot clinic is open Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Officials at the medical center say this makes it simple and easy for anyone to do.

“(The) drive-up clinic is a great option for people who have mobility issues or for parents with little kids who don’t want to have to unload everyone,” said Dr. Whelan.

“I want to stay healthy, I don’t want to get sick. You get sick, you’re down for a while. I just don’t want to be locked up and sick,” said Denny Johnson, an OSF HealthCare patient who also got the flu shot with his wife.

Alongside the flu shot, experts with OSF say the new COVID-19 booster is also necessary to get for not only yourself but ones around you.

“Interest in the vaccine has gone up a lot,” said Dr. Stephen Bartlett, the vice president chief medical officer with OSF HealthCare, “Despite the comments of the President. The number of COVID cases is really very very high in this region and admittedly most of those cases are pretty mild.”

However, Dr. Bartlett says his level of concern is much lower this time around, “I’m not as concerned as I was two years ago, but I do remain concerned because the illness is still quite severe for some people.”

The Illinois Department Public Health reports almost 200,000 Illinoisans have their booster. Dr. Bartlett also says OSF HealthCare see’s an increase in people getting their booster shot this season. With 80% of those people 60 years or older.

“Each person has their own decision to make and some people say they get sick from it. I don’t get sick from it. I think it’s an individual decision,” said Johnson.

Health experts say the Bivalent booster shot will count as a first dose for patients who are still unvaccinated. To find a location where you can get a COVID-19 vaccine, please click here.