Des Plaines mass vaccination site to open Friday
Illinois has received over 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine and administered more than 3 million shots, officials reported Thursday, as registration opened for mass clinics in Des Plaines and the United Center in Chicago amid high demand from anxious seniors.
On Wednesday, 93,302 more people received COVID-19 shots, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported.
The seven-day vaccination average is now at 78,942.
The United Center site, a federal facility open to all Illinoisans, is accepting people age 65 and older exclusively for inoculations through 4 p.m. Sunday.
When appointments opened online at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, there was a huge rush of people trying to register, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Alison Arwady said, noting technical issues were resolved within 30 minutes.
"It's a sign of how much demand there is," she said at an online question-and-answer session.
All drive-through appointments were snapped up for the current three-week lineup, but walk-in appointments remained open, Arwady said.
Registrations can be taken online at zocdoc.com/vaccine or by calling (312) 746-4835.
A mass site at Des Plaines that will offer Johnson & Johnson's one-dose vaccine opens its doors Friday. Appointments are required and can be made at vaccine.cookcountyil.gov or by calling (833) 308-1988, although that number rang busy when the Daily Herald checked.
The Des Plaines mass clinic is expected to handle up to 3,500 shots a day, while the United Center facility is estimated to provide 6,000.
Among those finding success at the United Center was Charlie Sikaras, 67, of Warrenville.
"This morning, I was able to secure an appointment on March 15," he said. "The appointment process was very straightforward and I was able to print a ticket along with instructions and FAQs."
Sikaras had signed up with the DuPage County Health Department's vaccination website but had no success landing an appointment.
DuPage leads suburban Cook, Chicago and the collar counties in percentage of people fully vaccinated with 7.42%, but officials have said they're hamstrung by not getting enough doses.
The federal government has delivered 4,007,475 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December. The IDPH reported 2,993,543 shots have been put in arms so far, but Gov. J.B. Pritzker updated that information at a Thursday briefing in Centreville.
"We have administered in Illinois over 3 million doses of lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines for our residents," Pritzker said.
So far, 952,141 people -- 7.47% of the state's population -- have been fully vaccinated. Vaccines manufactured by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. require two doses several weeks apart.
Meanwhile, Illinois has moved up in the U.S. rankings for getting shots into arms per capita. The state is 35th out of 50 for administering vaccines, with 23,851 per 100,000 people, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control data Thursday. In early February, Illinois was 44th.
But the state remains in the bottom 10 states for receiving doses from the federal government, standing at 41st with 30,979 doses per 100,000 people delivered. In early February, Illinois was 42nd.
The IDPH announced this week it was expanding a program to offer vaccines to federally qualified health centers and hospitals to help underserved communities. "We have to be sure we're getting vaccines to Black and brown people who are too often denied health care that should be their right," Pritzker said Thursday.
Next week, the state will begin allocating 300 to 500 vaccine doses per week to those sites that include Chicago Behavioral Hospital in Des Plaines, Amita Health Adventist Medical Center GlenOaks in Glendale Heights, and the Lake County Health Department's FQHC in Waukegan.
Amita Health Adventist Medical Center GlenOaks Vice President Vladimir Radivojevic said details were still being settled, but the hospital was "excited to be partnering with the state to bring the vaccine to our community."
Vaccines would be open first to eligible patients, then to qualifying people in the community.
"This initiative is very good as it provides additional vaccine above and beyond our normal vaccine amounts coming to Lake County," Health Department Executive Director Mark Pfister said.
Also, Illinois reported 1,740 new cases and 42 more deaths from the respiratory disease.
Illinois hospitals were treating 1,200 COVID-19 patients Wednesday night.
The state's seven-day average positivity rate is 2.4%.
Total cases statewide stand at 1,193,260, and 20,668 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.
Labs processed 73,990 virus tests in the last 24 hours.