1/4/21 - A Message from Secretary Hou: Happy New Year! Get Vaccine Information Via TEXT!

Monday, January 4, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Happy New Year! I am thrilled to send my best wishes to you for a healthy and happy 2021. I hope you were able to spend the holiday season reflecting on your incredible service and what we have accomplished together for communities across Illinois. We are introducing to you and inviting you to get up to date information about COVID-19 vaccination by texting "VACCINE" or "VACUNA" (Spanish) to 55-2020.

We have much to look forward to in 2021. We are getting ready to roll out vaccinations in our 24/7 facilities - prioritizing our front-line workers and bringing us closer to the end of the pandemic. It is important to the health and safety of our facilities - our staff, residents, and patients - that all who are eligible and able take the opportunity to vaccinate.

We are committed to keeping you informed with the most up to date information regarding vaccinations. We are excited to announce a new texting service that will enable you to receive updates about the vaccine implementation plan at the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and across Illinois.

If you are interested in getting rapid, up to date information about COVID-19 vaccination, please text VACCINE (ENGLISH) or VACUNA (SPANISH) to 552020*. Message and data rates may apply. For privacy details, click here.

We strongly encourage all IDHS staff, patients, residents, and clients to be vaccinated because:

  • the vaccine is important to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • the vaccine is a safe way to protect yourself from the effects of COVID-19.
  • the vaccine will help us all get back to "normal" faster.

There are hundreds of thousands of your front-line service colleagues and public health leaders who have already gotten the vaccine. Click here to watch Dr. Fauci receive his COVID-19 vaccination.

For IDHS and Illinois to be successful in defeating COVID-19, it is going to take all of us to go All In Illinois. I want to assure you that we are actively advocating on behalf of all our staff to ensure that you will have timely access to the vaccine pursuant to the phases set out by the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health. When you are given the opportunity to vaccinate, we hope you take it and encourage your family, friends, and colleagues to do the same. In the meantime, whether you are a health care worker who is getting vaccinated in the coming weeks or, like me, are looking forward to being vaccinated in the future, we all-even once we are vaccinated-must continue to be safe, wearing masks and observing social distancing.

As always, the health, safety, and well-being of our staff is the north star of everything we do. It is great to begin this year with this hopeful news. I have every confidence that we will continue to accomplish more great things together in 2021.



Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS