Published by vnahealthdeve July 22, 2021

VNA Health Care has spent the past year and a half on the front line of the pandemic providing invaluable COVID-19 services including testing and vaccination. Recently VNA has reached a new milestone by delivering over 50,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the surrounding community. This is just one of many of the successes which illustrate VNA’s compassion and commitment to ensuring service for our patients as well as innovation and creativity in the face of this public health challenge.

Additional successes include:

  • Over 75,000 Health Center patients served in over 185,000 visits
  • More than 7,000 “care packs” distributed to patients with COVID symptoms
  • Weekly outdoor drive-up diabetes and hypertension check-up clinics held during summer 2020
  • Over 250 vaccinations were completed for homebound patients
  • Patient satisfaction rate exceeded 94%
  • 30,000+ COVID-19 tests completed
  • Fresh First produce boxes distributed in weekly drive-through during summer 2020 and 2021
  • Weekly wellness classes conducted via Zoom

And much more!

Fittingly, we accomplished our goal of administering 50,000 doses of COVID vaccine in time for the 4th of July holiday and we did mark the occasion! In addition, VNA was honored to serve alongside other healthcare providers as “Grand Marshals” in the City of Aurora 4th of July parade.

VNA’s vaccination efforts received mention in a recent Aurora Beacon-News article:

While VNA, Kane County celebrate COVID-19 vaccination milestones, officials say there is still work to be done

By Megan Jones

Two big vaccination benchmarks were celebrated recently as Kane County officials said 70% of county residents 18 and up are vaccinated while VNA Health Care administered its 50,000th dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

VNA Health Care surpassed its goal of 50,000 last week and had administered 50,818 doses of the vaccine as of Thursday, which they say is perfect timing to coincide with people coming together to celebrate the Fourth of July.

“We are celebrating families getting back together because we’ve been able to vaccinate so many people and collectively, it’s a safer time now,” said Chrissie Howorth, vice president of communication for VNA. “After skipping a year, people will be really enjoying this July 4th.”

VNA Health Care is a federally qualified not-for-profit health care provider. It started in Aurora as the Visiting Nurses Association, and has grown into an organization with 70 full-time doctors and nurse practitioners at 14 clinics in seven locations throughout the west and southwest suburbs.

VNA was one of the first 250 community health centers in the country to receive doses of the vaccine. At the time, the benchmark of 50,000 doses seemed like a really lofty goal, said VNA Health Care President Linnea Windel.

But officials with VNA say the work is nowhere near done, and now the focus is on connecting to community groups and reaching out person-to-person to vulnerable and minority groups who may be hesitant to receive the vaccine.

Valerie Figueroa, 14, of Aurora, said since her grandmother died of COVID-19 in December, she has been promoting to her friends and everyone around her to get the vaccine so they don’t have to feel the same pain and loss her family did.

“It was a very emotional time for us and the scary thing is, we don’t really know where we got it from,” Figueroa said of the disease that infected her, her mother and her grandmother in the fall of 2020.

Her grandmother was only 57 years old when she passed away in December. Her mother, Karina Suarez-Darden, who works as a community health liaison for VNA, said it bothers them when people doubt the impact of COVID-19 just because they themselves had mild side effects when they got the virus.

VNA Health Care has reached out to over 80 community groups, employers and churches to try to connect with people who are unvaccinated, officials said. By answering questions, helping with transportation, arranging for house visits for those who are homebound, Windel said they hope to make the vaccination process easier.

“It’s a face-to-face individualized approach to get to everyone,” Windel said. “We have community liaisons talking with particular groups within a church or a parent group to give information.”

Martha Chavez, 51, of Aurora, was one of the community influencers who got vaccinated and helped inspire others. From serving as an accountant where she sees many people through work to having a 15-year-old daughter with asthma, she said it was critical to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Martha Chavez of Aurora said she felt it was important to get the COVID-19 vaccine because of the many people she sees through work, and also the fact she has a daughter with asthma.

Martha Chavez of Aurora said she felt it was important to get the COVID-19 vaccine because of the many people she sees through work, and also the fact she has a daughter with asthma. (VNA Health Care / HANDOUT).

While VNA was celebrating giving out its 50,000th dose, Kane County officials announced Thursday that the county exceeded the nation’s goal of having 70% of adults vaccinated against COVID-19 by July 4. Health department officials estimate about 71.9% of adult residents in the county have had at least one dose of a vaccine and 54.9% of those 18 years old and older are fully vaccinated.

“We are so proud of the efforts of our community partners, staff and volunteers for surpassing this goal,” said Kane County Health Department Interim Executive Director Kathy Fosser.

Fosser warned residents against thinking we are out of the woods concerning the pandemic, referencing the growing cases of the delta variant.

“With the new variants that seem to be more transmissible than the original strain, it is vital that we continue to increase our vaccination rate,” Fosser said.