Illinois, Wisconsin distribute COVID-19 vaccines

Hospital workers, front line workers, and people 65 and older are able to get the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines in Illinois and Wisconsin. 

Registered nurse Susana Martinez felt nervous about getting the Moderna vaccine but knows it is the right thing to do. 

There are a lot of different opinions on whether people should get the vaccine so soon. Martinez was one of the people excited to get the vaccine.

“I was nervous at first because I wasn’t sure how my immune system was going to react to it, but I think I was more excited knowing that we had a vaccine that may prevent COVID-19,” Martinez said. 

Some side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are sore arms, fatigue, fever, or headaches. These are all common during the first three days after the vaccination. Some people are making accusations that the vaccine side effects are worse than people thought, blaming the death of family members on it. There is no scientific evidence yet that suggests that these deaths are related to COVID-19. 

“The only thing accusations do is spread more fear into people not getting the vaccine or for health care workers to potentially damage the vaccines given out,” said Kristin Kraenzle, a registered travel nurse.

A Milwaukee pharmacist spoiled the vaccines given to their hospital, on purpose, in December because he did not trust the vaccines. 

“It’s terrible that the false information is out there because unfortunately there are always going to be people that will believe it. This makes it less effective for the population since less people are getting the vaccine,” Kraenzle said.

“I thought the pharmacist who ruined the several vials was in the wrong. I understand not wanting to get the vaccine for yourself, but he took the right for other individuals to decide whether or not to get it,” Martinez said. 

Martinez has not felt any bad side effects after getting her first and second Moderna vaccine, but this might not be the same for everyone; everyone has a different immune system. Other nurses have experienced chills and aches along with inflammation, but no side effects have resulted in death. 

“I really didn’t have a side effect of the vaccine. The only issue I had was a sore arm, which for me was similar to the flu shot, maybe a bit more tender,” Martinez said. 

For people who are 65 years or older in Wisconsin, they were able to be vaccinated starting on January 25. Marilyn Antkowiak, one of the earliest people in that age group, immediately signed up for the vaccine when she heard about it on Wisconsin Public Radio. 

“I knew that there was a limited availability of the vaccine. I immediately went on my patient portal and signed up for a specific timed appointment on the first day,” Antkowiak said. 

People have seemed to be indifferent about the vaccine, especially with conspiracy theories on being “microchipped” by the government or not knowing about what the future side effects of the vaccine are. 

“Once registered, patients were directed to sit in chairs. People were crabby; however, I think they were just nervous and complained about the wait,” Antkowiak said.

The level of care to newly vaccinated people is different with this new vaccine. Not only do you also need to set up appointments for your second vaccinations, but there are also protocols to make sure patients are safe. 

“After leaving the room, I was directed to sit for 15 minutes to ensure that I did not experience any reaction to the vaccine. All the chairs were set up with social distancing in mind,” Antkowiak said. 

As of right now, the vaccine is not required for nurses or the general public, and people do not know if or when it will become mandatory for work or school. To sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine in Lake County, people should log into the patient portal at