April 22nd was a historic day for optometry as the first group of ODs in Illinois received their vaccine certification. "There was applause as each OD successfully completed their training. It was one of those moments I will remember my whole life," says Sandra Bury, OD '95 (pictured in black scrubs with lab partner Leonard Messner, OD), who was one of the first ODs to receive certification.
To date, 112 optometrists have begun the certification course and 95 have completed it and are now certified to provide COVID vaccinations.
"I am bursting with pride for our great profession. It would be a great to see all of us step up to the challenge," says Dr. Bury.
In response to the declared public health emergency, in March 2021, at the direction of Governor J.B. Pritzker, the IL Dept. of Financial and Professional Regulation and IL Dept of Public Health passed a proclamation to grant ODs the authority to administer the COVID-19 vaccination.
To assist in the certification process, ICO is partnering with the Illinois Optometric Association to provide a training course to Illinois-licensed optometrists to verify competency in the administration of COVID-19 vaccinations. The course is free of charge and includes a three hour online didactic course followed by a one-hour hands-on, practical course. The practical course will be delivered at various sites throughout Illinois and conducted by ICO faculty with oversight from a practicing healthcare professional who is licensed to perform intramuscular injections.
"I'm so proud of the joint efforts of ICO and the IOA to train ODs to become vaccinators. It is an honor to help us all try and end this pandemic together," says Lindsay Sicks, OD '10 (pictured to Dr. Bury's right), who was instrumental in developing the certification course.
For more information about future vaccine training courses, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.