Greater Elgin Family Care Center to offer existing patients COVID-19 vaccinations
Greater Elgin Family Care Center will begin vaccinating existing patients in the 1B category for COVID-19 at three of its locations beginning Monday.
The nonprofit community health center, which has nine locations in five counties, primarily serves people whose income is less than double the federal poverty level.
"Our patients are often uninsured, often are persons of color, racial and ethnic minorities and women and children," said President/CEO Bob Tanner. It has about 90 practitioners who provide care to more than 62,000 people per year, he added.
Vaccination appointments will be accepted at Center for Family Health in Sycamore, Lake Health Center in Hanover Park and McHenry Community Health Center. Existing patients should call (847) 608-1344 or (815) 363-9900 to schedule their 30-minute appointment. The vaccine is available to insured and uninsured patients and is free.
Because the organization operates in five counties, Tanner said, officials have to work with five health departments, each with a separate system for distributing any vaccine they receive. So far, Great Elgin Family Care Center has received distributions from DuPage, McHenry and DeKalb counties.
"We hope that we're going to be able to get a supply from the Cook County and Kane County departments of health so we can also begin offering vaccine to our existing patients in our health centers in Elgin, Streamwood, Wheeling and other locations," Tanner said.
Patients in 1B from anywhere in their system can still get the vaccine from one of the three current locations.
As of now, the group anticipates having a sufficient supply of the Moderna vaccine for its existing patients. Vaccines manufactured by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. require two doses several weeks apart.
"Poor people have long experienced structural issues that cause them to have difficulties getting access to health care," Tanner said. "This is why we're focusing on offering it to our existing patients. They're often a part of the population that is disenfranchised."
"Our hope is that we will soon thereafter get even more of a regular, consistent supply and we can begin vaccinating the general public," he added.
So far, the care center has worked to inoculate its staff, as members of the 1A category, as well as first responders and educators such as Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300 last week. They'll begin vaccinating teachers from Elgin Area School District U-46 next week.
Visit www.gefcc.org for more information.