Two mass vaccination clinics are scheduled in Naperville in the coming days.
Shots of Hope
On May 1, the “Shots of Hope” event will be held at the Mall of India, at 776 S. Route 59.
1,000 Moderna shots will be available for anyone 18 or older. Registration for appointments is available online but walk-ins will be accepted as well, as supply allows. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Second doses will be administered on June 5.
The vaccination clinic is a collaborative effort between the City of Naperville, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, DuPage Health Coalition, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, iHealth, DuPage County NAACP and the Mall of India.
Organizers are encouraging all those who are eligible to take this opportunity to become vaccinated. Medical director for Testing and Vaccine Services at iHealth Kate Schmelka says she knows many are fearful of the vaccine, and says she understands. She admits that though as an emergency physician she was one of the first eligible to receive one of the shots, she waited a month herself.
“I wanted to see a larger data set. After that first month, we had almost ten million vaccinations administered. The significant side effects were few. The decrease in risk for getting very sick from COVID was almost eliminated for those who had participated,” said Schmelka. “I had been worried all year I would get COVID, and being over 50 I thought I had a chance to have serious problems, so the thought that I could eliminate that fear with a safe vaccine made me decide: this is for me.”
Now she cannot speak highly enough about the effect being vaccinated has had on her life.
“Since then, I cannot say how freeing it has become; to feel my health is protected, to hug my parents, who are also immunized, again and not worry I might make them sick, to feel like my life is going back to normal. Everyone should have this feeling. It is wonderful,” said Schmelka.
Fry Family YMCA Clinic
On May 3 another vaccination clinic will be held at the Fry Family YMCA gymnasium, located at 2120 W. 95th St. This event is made possible thanks to a partnership between the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago and State Representative Janet Yang Rohr (IL-41st District).
The clinic is geared to serve Naperville and Will County residents, with a special focus on vaccinating those in Illinois House State District 41. Event organizers are especially hoping to reach those in underserved communities, including LGBTQ+ residents.
“When Representative Yang Rohr first shared with us that some of her constituents were traveling over an hour to get the vaccine, we knew we had to help,” said Stephanie Kuzelis, Executive Director, Fry Family YMCA. “As a community organization that works hard every day to strengthen our youth, families, and communities, it is important to us that those we serve have equal access to critical resources, including vaccines to protect themselves against COVID-19.”
Anyone 16 or older is eligible for a vaccination at the Fry Family YMCA clinic. About 500 shots of the Pfizer vaccine are available. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration is available online but walk-in patients will be allowed as well. The second dose will be given on May 24.
“The YMCA’s mission overlaps with ours in developing strong communities and promoting healthy living. Hosting this clinic will serve our community by providing easy access to vaccines and helping all of us to begin moving past the pandemic,” said State Representative Janet Yang Rohr, Illinois District 41.
It’s a sentiment echoed by Schmelka.
“Let’s put this behind us. Let’s put masks behind us. Let’s see other’s faces again,” she said. “Let’s talk about something other than COVID, and deaths, and hospitalization rates and job losses. Let’s have places to go again, and things to do, and people to see. Let’s make the last year and a half a part of our past, and look forward without fear for ourselves and our loved ones. Let’s focus on wonderful new parts of our lives!”
“Let’s get a vaccine,” she finished.
Naperville News 17’s Kim Pirc reports.
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