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Second doses of vaccine now being administered in Southwestern Illinois

HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese on Wednesday began administering the second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The second dose of this vaccine is given 21 days after the first dose.  The first hospital colleague to receive the second vaccine dose was hospital colleague Mary Fitzgerald, emergency department RN, (shown at left) who was also the first to receive the first dose on Dec. 16.

Dr. Brian Klostermann, HSHS Medical Group family and sports medicine physician in Highland and Breese (shown right), was the first physician to be vaccinated at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese on December 16 and received his second dose on January 6 as well. All of the vaccines were administered smoothly and safely.

HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese Chief Medical Officer Dr. Vinjay Bhooma shared, “Being fully vaccinated by getting the second doses is an important part to fully protecting our colleagues who are on the frontlines caring for patients during the pandemic,” he said. “It is very important that when you are able to get the vaccine that you ensure you receive both doses.”

Both Fitzgerald and Klostermann shared that their reaction to the first vaccine was very mild and both were eager to get the second dose. “Getting the second dose means I am now able to better protect the health of my family, the community and my patients as I am caring for them,” Fitzgerald said. “This means we are one step closer to overcoming this virus, added Klostermann.”

At this time, Hospital Sisters Health System is not requiring its colleagues to receive the vaccination, although they are recommending to colleagues and the community to receive the vaccine when it is available to them.

“We are also very proud of our vaccine teams as they have done a great job with ensuring safe and efficient immunizations for our colleagues and medical staff,” added Bhooma. As soon as the vaccines were delivered from the local health department in mid-December, our team has put in extra time and effort to run successful vaccination clinics in our hospital for our colleagues.”

Until the pandemic is over, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese still encourages people to do their part to decrease the number of COVID cases in the community by continuing with diligent hand washing, social distancing, masking and staying home if you are not feeling well. The hospital is also encouraging you to not delay your doctor’s appointments, screenings and visits to the emergency room in emergent situations.

For more information about HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese, visit the hospital’s website at

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