FHN Experts: Vaccine Helps Stop Spread of COVID-19 Variants

July 7, 2021 – With northwest Illinois in Phase 5 of opening up during the COVID-19 pandemic, FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley, MBA, FACHE and Infection Preventionist Margie Kochsmier MSN, RN, CMSRN urge those who haven't yet been vaccinated to get their shots in FHN's latest pandemic update video.

“When the nation first had vaccines, it was a ‘vaccine versus virus' race,” Gridley said. “Now, we're facing a ‘vaccine versus variant' race.”

“When the COVID-19 vaccine spreads, it evolves to create these new variants, like the Delta variant we've heard so much about lately,” Kochsmier said. “Getting more people vaccinated against COVID-19 gives the virus less ‘room' to spread and create these variants.”

All three available COVID-19 vaccines offer protection against the virus' new variants, Kochsmier said. She points out that people who have already had COVID-19 must be vaccinated to be protected against the new, more contagious strains of the virus.

Area residents can get vaccinated through their county health department or at a retail pharmacy, Gridley said. There is no cost for a COVID-19 vaccine. Visit www.vaccines.gov to find a convenient vaccination site. COVID-19 vaccines are now available to anyone age 12 or older.

As we all navigate the uncertain territory of opening up and interacting with other people safely, Gridley urges people to take the time now to schedule checkups, preventive screenings and procedures they may have put off at the height of the pandemic.

“Get out and enjoy our area, support our local businesses, and be respectful of each other. Some people are choosing to keep wearing masks and keeping their distance from others for their safety -please respect people's choices.”

The current FHN COVID-19 update video, as well as all previous pandemic-related videos, can be viewed at www.fhn.org/coronavirus.