Four Additional Vaccination Sites Opening for All Eligible Illinois Residents This Week
Rural Vaccination Program Adds Stops in Henderson and Kankakee Counties
CHICAGO, IL (STL.News) Building on a robust infrastructure to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to all eligible Illinois residents in an equitable manner, Governor JB Pritzker today announced the launch of four new state-supported mass vaccination sites. Three brand-new sites will open in Kane County, Lake County and Will County, and an existing an Grundy County site will expand to serve any Illinois residents as a mass vaccination location. Starting this week, these sites offer free COVID-19 vaccines to all eligible Illinoisans regardless of zip code.
“As we continue to get more and more vaccine from the federal government, I’m proud to launch four additional state-supported large mass vaccination sites open to all eligible Illinoisans to ensure residents can receive their vaccines as efficiently and equitably as possible,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Over 3.6 million Illinoisans have already received their first dose of vaccine. We’re projected to get nearly 1 million doses this week, and IDPH and our 97 local health departments working hard to administer these shots. However, this battle is far from over, and with new cases and hospitalizations on the rise, I encourage every resident to buckle down, wear your mask, and do your part so we can all power through to the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Local leaders offered their enthusiastic support for the expansions:
“The Grundy County Health Department is grateful for the support of the Illinois National Guard to assist in local vaccination efforts. Through this partnership, additional resources are expected to arrive in Grundy so as to increase the number of individuals who can receive COVID-19 vaccine each week.” said Public Health Administrator Michelle Pruim. “The Illinois National Guard will be working alongside the Grundy County Health Department, partner agencies and local volunteers to safely and effectively administer doses as they become available to Grundy County.”
“Opening on Friday, March 19, the Kane (County) Vax Hub has been in operation for little over a week. Partnering with the Illinois National Guard, other community partners and volunteers, the Kane County Health Department has distributed 13,447 doses of the vaccine. This new site has enabled the County to vastly improve our outreach to serve the residents of Kane County and Illinois by providing a centralized location that will be an access point to provide inoculations to all of Kane County’s diverse communities,” said Kane County Chairman Corinne Pierog.
“This site enhances our equitable distribution of the vaccine in an area especially hard-hit during the pandemic, and shows the great partnership between the Lake County Health Department, City of Waukegan, and Illinois National Guard to bring additional vaccine supply to our region,” said Mark Pfister, Executive Director at the Lake County Health Department.
“We appreciate the National Guard, the Governor and the Illinois Department of Public Health working in concert with our Health Department and in establishing this vaccination site,” said Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant. “The site is easily accessible to a large number of residents and surrounding communities, allowing Will County to be both effective and efficient in delivering the vaccine.”
Governor JB Pritzker also announced today he is activating additional members of the Illinois National Guard to support McHenry County Health Department expand its local operations to help those who live or work in the county.
“The addition of the Illinois National Guard has allowed the McHenry County Department of Health to expand its mass vaccination site in the City of McHenry to six days per week speeding up the pace at which county residents and workers are getting vaccinated,” said Melissa Adamson, Public Health Administrator at the McHenry County Department of Health.
The state is taking quick and decisive action to reverse early signs of a possible resurgence of COVID-19 cases. To bend the trend in a region seeing increased vulnerability, several vaccination teams are being deployed for rapid operations.
Mobile rapid response vaccination teams are set to deploy to five counties in Region 1 where IDPH epidemiologists have determined there is a need to administer doses quickly to blunt increasing trends. These doses are on top of the allocation to the local health departments. These mobile teams will be providing single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to county residents in Carroll, Ogle, Boone, Lee and Whiteside. Appointments will be coordinated by the local health department.
To date, there are more than 1,460 Illinois National Guard troops assigned to COVID-19 operations. Divided into 91 different teams, these troops are operating at 40 locations throughout the state and have already administered more than 650,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
On top of the state-supported mass vaccination sites, the Illinois National Guard is also running four additional vaccination missions across the state, furthering the state’s ability to target specific regions and populations, with more assignments in the coming weeks:
1. Equity-focused mobile vaccination teams are partnering with local health departments to reach underserved communities in Cook, DeKalb, McHenry, St. Clair, Jackson, Sangamon, Madison, Winnebago, Rock Island, McLean, Grundy, Vermilion and the Southern Seven Health Department Counties.
2. Illinois National Guard troops are working directly with local health departments to improve local vaccination rates and meet the public demand for safe and effective vaccines in Lake, Vermilion, McLean, Rock Island, DeKalb and McHenry counties.
3. The state also established one-stop, single-shot Johnson & Johnson rural vaccination clinics, a collaboration between the Illinois National Guard and our local health departments. This rural vaccination program serves to reduce the travel barriers associated with equitable healthcare and will result in people getting vaccinated quicker, without the logistics and time commitment associated with coordinating a second trip.
4. Rapid Response Vaccination teams work with local health departments to increase vaccination rates in a county that is seeing increasing rates of COVID-19 cases.
Any Illinois resident in phase 1A, 1B and 1B+, as well as government workers, higher education staff, media, food and restaurant workers, construction trade workers and religious leaders can receive a free COVID-19 vaccine regardless of their zip code, immigration status, or health insurance at state-supported mass vaccination sites, pharmacies and health department clinics. Last week, IDPH authorized all any health departments to begin vaccinating all residents 16 and older as soon as they are ready. By April 12, all Illinois health departments and clinics receiving allocations from the State of Illinois will expand eligibility to all residents 16 years and older.
There are now more than 900 vaccination locations in Illinois open to the public, and these locations can be viewed online at https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/. For those having difficulty navigating online services to make vaccination appointments, the Vaccine Appointment Call Center may be able to assist. This hotline is available seven days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight. Call agents’ primary role is to help individuals navigate the various online registration sites. However, if the individual does not have access to online services or is unable to navigate the site, the call agent will make an appointment on the caller’s behalf. The Vaccine Appointment Call Center phone number is 1-833-621-1284.