CARBONDALE, Ill. ( -- As the United States reached the grim milestone of 500,000 deaths due to COVID-19, teachers are going to great lengths to get their vaccines. Illinois is allowing educators to get vaccinated, but Missouri has not moved educators into an eligible tier.

Many teachers in Missouri told News 4 they're willing to drive just about anywhere to get the vaccine, and some are eligible to make appointments in Illinois. However once they get there, they'll likely be turned away.

"I am not trying to jump through hoops, I am not saying I have health conditions that I don't," said Michelle Fank, a substitute teacher at Assumption Catholic School in south county. "But I do want to get vaccinated. It will help me feel more comfortable around in the community and it will help me see my parents."

Fank stumbled upon a mass vaccine event put on by the Illinois National Guard and Jackson County Health Department in Carbondale, Illinois. The event goes from Tuesday through Friday. When she checked Sunday night, there were still several appointments available for this week. She secured a time slot, even while putting in her Missouri zip code, then heard through the grapevine she might get turned away because she doesn't live or work in Illinois.

It turns out that is true. In fact, the Jackson County Health Department said they fielded hundreds of calls about it Monday. Even if someone makes an appointment, they must show proof of being an Illinois resident once they arrive at the site. If they work in Illinois but live in Missouri, they're required to bring a paystub.

The rules apply to any event put on by the Illinois National Guard.

"To see that there are all of these appointments in Carbondale two hours away not being used right now, it's disappointing because it's literally just the line, that river that's making us not able to use those," Fank said. 

At last check there are appointments for the event in Carbondale.

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved


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