COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

Decatur Memorial Hospital COVID-19 FAQ (PDF FILE)

Decatur Memorial Hospital COVID-19  Local Vaccination Guide (PDF FILE)

What is in the COVID vaccine

How will I be made aware when it’s my turn to get the vaccine? 

When students and/or employees are eligible to receive the vaccine they will be notified via email and we will announce plans if and when any distribution will happen on campus.

How can I find out where I can get the vaccine?

The State of Illinois Department of Public Health has a map of locations where vaccines are being offered by community. Simply enter your Zip Code or the name of your city to find the locations nearest you. Note that ALL vaccinations require an appointment, regardless of where they are administered.

Is the vaccine mandatory?

There is no federal or state mandate to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. However, the CDC recommends the vaccine for all Americans 16 and over. Richland urges its students and employees to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their loved ones. It is an important step on the road that leads back to normalcy.

Do I have to take the second dose, and what happens if I don’t take the second dose?

The need for a second dose of the vaccine depends upon which version you receive. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only a single dose. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses, given weeks apart, to get the most protection. Failure to get the second dose will diminish the protection that you receive, by nearly half. It is important to remember, it is not unusual for a vaccination to require two, or even three, doses.

Which vaccine will I get and why?

The vaccine available will differ by site, and those administering the doses do not have a voice in what they receive. Regardless, the CDC recommends taking whatever vaccine is made available to you.

When will employees be eligible?

Do you have a Richland paystub or ID? Then, YES, you can get your first vaccine shot as soon as TODAY.

​For your students, friends, and family members, do they qualify? 1B+ now includes individuals 16+ with certain pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, obesity, smoking, and other medical concerns. If you have questions about eligibility, please email me at

Once I am vaccinated can I stop wearing my mask? 

No. While getting vaccinated helps ensure that you will not get COVID-19, you can still potentially carry and transmit the virus. For that reason, it is important to continue wearing your mask, observing social distancing and washing your hands frequently. All of these things together will help speed the defeat of the virus and speed the return to normalcy.

If I already had COVID, why do I need to get vaccinated?

Currently, medical professionals believe that getting ill only provides about 90 days of immunity, so it is important to get vaccinated.

Once I am vaccinated, can I stop my participation in SHIELD testing?

While vaccination will prevent you from catching the virus, or at least mitigate the symptoms, you can still carry the virus, so it is important that you continue to be tested to help us stop potential outbreaks.

I am young and my chances of dying of COVID are small, why should I get vaccinated?

Because it is really the only known way to end the pandemic. We need as much as 80 percent of the population vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, which will ultimately stop the spread of the virus. Since catching the virus has not proven to provide permanent immunity, vaccination is important to not only protect you from infection, but also to protect your friends and family.