Push to vaccinate those 65 and over ramps up in Lake County
The push to administer COVID-19 vaccines to Lake County residents 65 and over accelerated Monday on two fronts.
In North Chicago, a vaccine clinic for North Chicago and Waukegan residents over 65 opened. It will operate the next two months at the Greenbelt Cultural Center.
Meanwhile, the Lake County Health Department began offering appointments for seniors 65 and older at its mass vaccination site at the Lake County Fairgrounds. Seniors must be registered in the county's AllVax system to get an appointment.
The North Chicago clinic is sponsored by pharmaceutical giant AbbVie, which is headquartered in the city. The Lake County Forest Preserve District, which operates Greenbelt, waived rental fees for use of the facility.
It's one of many community Points of Dispensing (PODS) planned to open across Lake County in coming weeks. Visit www.lakecountyil.gov/vaccine for more information.
"We are proud of the partnerships we have formed with AbbVie and the Lake County Health Department to provide residents another vaccination location as the vaccine supply increases," said Angelo Kyle, president of the Lake County Forest Preserve board.
Every spot in the clinic is filled for this week, said North Chicago spokesman Jim Moran. About 150 vaccines per day are planned, he added. Appointments are required by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or (847) 582-1362.
Vaccinations for those in Phase 1A, which includes health care personnel and long-term care facility residents, began in Lake County in mid-December. Vaccination for those in Phase 1B, including those 65 and older as well as teachers, school personnel and front-line essential workers, began Jan. 25 at health department partner sites.
Locations exclusively for Lake County teachers and school personnel are operating at Round Lake and Stevenson high schools.
"We now have hospitals, health care providers, pharmacies, manufacturing employers and schools working together to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible across the county," said Mark Pfister, executive director the Lake County Health Department.
At least 200,000 Lake County residents are eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1B, but the focus has been on those 65 and older. However, even when vaccine supply improves, it will take "several weeks to months" to get everyone in that group vaccinated, according to Pfister.
The health department's goal is to vaccinate 80% of the county population, about 560,000 residents. At two doses per person, that would require 1.2 million shots of vaccine.
According to the health department, 325,366 have registered on AllVax. A new feature broadens access by allowing people to share information with other vaccine providers.
According to the county's data hub, 58,150 vaccine doses have been received, including 8,300 last week.