Illinois Army and Air National Guard Maj. Gen. Richard R. Neely visited a Southern Seven Health Department mass vaccination clinic at Shawnee Community College near Ullin on Wednesday, March 24. Southern Seven Health Department photo.

Southern Seven Health Department welcomes National Guard general

Neely led the 2019 response to historic flooding in Illinois, along with the unprecedented 2020 COVID-19 pandemic response and multiple deployments of the National Guard in response to civil unrest across the state.

Southern Seven Health Department welcomed Maj. Gen. Richard R. Neely, commander of the Illinois Army and Air National Guard, on a site tour of COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics in the southernmost area of the state on Wednesday, March 24. 

Neely and his support staff arrived by helicopter at Southern Seven Health Department’s mass vaccination site, located at Shawnee Community College’s main campus near Ullin.

The stop came after visits to other mass vaccination sites to the north of Southern Seven Health Department’s coverage area. 

Once on the ground, Neely visited with National Guard members who are charged with helping vaccinate residents of the Southern Seven Health Department region. 

He then met with Southern Seven Health Department staff members to learn how vaccination efforts were going.

“The support Southern Seven has received from the Illinois National Guard has been a major benefit to the residents spread across our seven counties,” said Nathan Ryder, outreach coordinator for Southern Seven Health Department’s contact tracing team.  

“When we are located so far away from our state’s government officials, getting the opportunity for our staff to meet with the commander of the Illinois National Guard and show our ongoing vaccination efforts face to face is invaluable.”

Neely is the 40th adjutant general of the State of Illinois and serves as the director of the Illinois Department of Military Affairs.

Neely is responsible for operations of the Illinois National Guard and oversees approximately 13,000 military members and 2,200 full-time military/federal employees and 230 civilian state employees. 

As the commander of the Illinois National Guard, he is responsible for the training, preparation and deployment of soldiers and airmen in support of combat operations worldwide. 

Neely led the 2019 response to historic flooding in Illinois, along with the unprecedented 2020 COVID-19 pandemic response and multiple deployments of the National Guard in response to civil unrest across the state.

Southern Seven Health Department currently is operating at least two mass vaccination locations in the region each day, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There is no charge for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine from Southern Seven Health Department. 

The health department covers Alexander, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski and Union counties. 

In addition to taking appointments, Southern Seven Health Department also is accepting walk-ins at each of its daily vaccine clinic locations.

To guarantee a vaccine dose on a given day, people can schedule themselves for a vaccine appointment using the Illinois Department of Public Health’s, IDPH, COVID-19 vaccine registration system online att https://covidvaccination.dph.illinois.gov.

Vaccines will be provided only to Illinois residents and/or individuals with proof of employment in Illinois. 

At the current time, people must also fall into the 1A, 1B or 1B-plus priority groups to receive a vaccine. 

It was announced by the State of Illinois that on April 12, everyone over the age of 16 years old will become eligible to get vaccinated.

IDPH has established a COVID-19 vaccine appointment call center, which is open seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to midnight, and can be contacted by calling 833-621-1284. 

SIH Healthcare has also established a regional call center to assist individuals who may have difficulty scheduling themselves online for a COVID-19 vaccine. Their call center may be reached by dialing 866-744-2468, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For information about COVID-19 or locations of COVID-19 vaccine clinics, contact Southern Seven Health Department at 618-634-2297 or visit the health department on Facebook and online at www.southern7.org .

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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