Are suburban residents getting fair share of state's vaccines? What the numbers show

  • Some suburban school districts like Libertyville High School District 128 are offering on-site COVID-19 testing as students return to the classroom in the coming days.

    Some suburban school districts like Libertyville High School District 128 are offering on-site COVID-19 testing as students return to the classroom in the coming days. Courtesy of District 128

 
 
Updated 1/15/2021 6:40 AM

Of the 414,296 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Illinois so far, 41.6% have gone into the arms of suburban residents.

And of the 91,947 state residents considered "fully vaccinated" after receiving two doses of the vaccine, 49% live in the suburbs, according to Illinois Department of Public Health data.

 

IDPH officials have begun reporting vaccination totals by county each day on the agency's COVID-19 statistics website, dph.illinois.gov/covid19.

Suburban Cook County residents have received 18.3% of the vaccine doses, 8.7% went to DuPage County residents, 5% were administered to Will County residents, 4.4% in the arms of Lake County residents, 3.3% to Kane County residents and 1.9% were given to McHenry County residents, according to IDPH data.

Each location, except DuPage, makes up a higher percentage of the statewide population total than each's share of vaccine doses reported -- suggesting most suburban locations aren't quite getting their fair share of the vaccine.

"Throughout the pandemic, we have used data to guide our decisions and actions and we will continue to do so for vaccine administration," IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike said. "Illinois is a very diverse state, geographically and in the makeup of its population. It is important to track where we are seeing both high and low vaccination rates. These data will help us understand what actions we can take to end this pandemic as quickly as possible."

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Through Thursday, the state had received 972,750 vaccine doses, according to state figures.

IDPH officials also announced Thursday that another 88 residents are dead from COVID-19, while 6,652 more new cases of the disease were diagnosed.

That brings the state's death toll from the respiratory disease to 17,928, and 1,052,682 residents have been infected since the outbreak began.

The state's seven-day average case positivity rate dropped for the sixth straight day and is now at 6.8%. Case positivity is the number of new cases diagnosed divided by the number of tests results and allows health officials to determine the level of disease spread among a certain population. A seven-day rolling average is used to account for any anomalies in daily counts.

IDPH figures also show 3,511 patients were hospitalized statewide Wednesday with COVID-19 complications. Of those hospitalized, 742 were in intensive care.

Health care workers, hospital staff members and residents of long-term care facilities remain the only people eligible to receive the vaccine as they were deemed at greatest risk of contracting and spreading the virus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Still, the vaccination process is moving much slower than anticipated. Less than 1% of the state has been fully vaccinated.

It's now been a month since the first doses of the vaccine were delivered to Illinois. Statewide, 26,703 vaccination doses are being administered each day, based on a seven-day average.

At this rate, it will take more than 2 years to vaccinate the entire state, according to IDPH figures.

DuPage County is the only suburban county IDPH is showing to have more than 1% of its residents fully vaccinated.

"The main thing we need, to grow our operation and be able to move ahead through these phases, is additional vaccine," Chicago Public Health Department Director Allison Arwady said Thursday.

And while the suburbs have seen a larger share of the vaccine than Chicago or downstate Illinois, the suburbs make up a larger portion than the other two areas of the state.

The populations of suburban Cook County and the five collar counties make up 44.4% of the state's total. Chicago and the 96 downstate counties make up 21.2% and 34.4% of the state's population respectively.

Combined, residents of the 96 counties outside Chicago and the suburbs received 34.6% of the doses so far, according to the IDPH figures. Chicago residents received 19.5% of the doses.

Another 4.3% of the state's doses -- more than 17,700 shots -- went into the arms of people who live out of state or whose hometown is unknown, according to IDPH records. Those are likely individuals who live in border states but work in health care positions in Illinois, state health officials said.

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