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Lockport Man is 10,000th COVID-19 Vaccine Recipient at Silver Cross

Joan and Robert Otte of Lockport were thrilled when they received an email invitation to attend a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox. They didn't waste a moment signing up to get the shot together.

But little did the 73-year-old pair know they'd be making history when they arrived for their first dose today.

Joan was the hospital's 9,999th vaccine recipient – and her husband Robert was the 10,000th! The couple received the news from the hospital's Administrative Director of Pharmacy Services Frank Butler.

"Wow, that's amazing," Robert said. "We'd been looking for a vaccine. So this was really good."

The Ottes know firsthand how serious the coronavirus can be. Their son-in-law was hospitalized with COVID-19 last November. Thankfully, he recovered.

"My first thought is that we've had COVID here for almost a year," Robert added. "This vaccine is going to turn that around."

Wife Joan agrees. "We were so excited to sign up," she said.

With two grown daughters, seven granddaughters and a 50th anniversary on the way in October, the Ottes have plenty of reasons to celebrate. And once they receive their second dose, they may even enjoy a date night out.

The Ottes are originally from Elk Grove Village. They relocated to the southwest suburbs several years ago to be closer to their family, and quickly found their healthcare home at Silver Cross.

"We watched this place go up," Robert added about the hospital's construction and opening at its current location in early 2012. And while they admired the hospital from afar, over the years, they became familiar with what it has to offer on the inside too.

Joan underwent a robotic-assisted gallbladder surgery at Silver Cross through the hospital's renowned Midwest Institute for Robotic Surgery, and Robert had a carotid artery procedure through the hospital's Neuroscience Institute.

"We knew were in a good place here," he added.

Silver Cross Supporting State Vaccine Plan

Silver Cross has been actively engaged in support of the state's mass vaccination plan since mid-December, when it began vaccinating healthcare workers. Since then, the hospital has also vaccinated area law enforcement officers, EMS/firefighters and nearly 4,000 Will County teachers. This week, the hospital began vaccinating individuals 65 years and older.

"Silver Cross has been at the frontlines of COVID-19 since it arrived in our community in March of last year," President and Chief Executive Officer Ruth Colby said.

In fact, the hospital has cared for nearly 2,000 COVID-19 patients; performed more than 48,000 COVID-19 tests and today, reached another milestone when it gave its 10,000th vaccine.

"We are privileged to provide this service to our community that we know will save lives," she added. "And we're grateful to collaborate with the Will County Health Department in these vaccination clinics and will continue to do all that we can to help bring an end to COVID-19."

Colby praised the entire hospital team for its dedication throughout the pandemic and for quickly mobilizing to vaccinate thousands.

"I'm so proud of our entire Silver Cross family and our role in vaccinating our community," she added.

For more information about Silver Cross, visit silvercross.org


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