Lake County wants residents ready to get, give shots as vaccine supplies increase
COVID-19 vaccines slowly have been arriving in Lake County, but health officials are thinking ahead to when supplies increase.
As 60,000 doses are being administered by the county to front-line health care workers and residents and staff members of long-term care facilities, health officials are urging others to prepare for their turns.
Besides pushing residents to register for their shots on a burgeoning AllVax notification list, they're seeking help to administer the vaccines and provide vaccination sites.
"We still have a limited supply of vaccine, but we (also) have a limited supply of vaccinators," Mark Pfister, executive director of the Lake County Health Department, told the Lake County Board.
The eventual goal is to vaccinate 80% of Lake County residents, or more than 500,000 people. That would take years for the county to do on its own, Pfister said.
"We're putting out a huge call to all the providers in Lake County," he said. "That's the only way we're going to speed this process."
Health officials also gave an overview during a webinar Wednesday night. About 3,600 registered to view the online event, the most for a county town hall meeting of any type, said Chief Communications Officer Arin Thrower. A video of the event can be viewed at www.lakecountyil.gov/4080/Virtual-Town-Hall-Meetings.
Pfister said the county will be relying on hospitals, corporations, schools and others to make locations for vaccinations available.
"Our real goal is to have multiple, multiple entities that can provide this vaccination," he said.
Because it has the appropriate freezers, Lake County receives vaccines directly from the federal government. Once they are removed from the deep freeze, the refrigerated shelf life is five days for the Pfizer vaccine and 30 days for Moderna's.
Which is why it's important for anyone who wants a vaccine to register, county officials say.
"We want to make sure we have a lot of people ready to go," Pfister said.
Registration is available to residents and those working in Lake County but living elsewhere at allvax.lakecohealth.org. The portal allows people to create a profile that can be edited and includes answers to frequently asked questions.
About 200,000 -- more than a quarter of the county's population -- already have signed up. Registration also is available at (847) 377-8130.
The intent is to be able to connect those who want vaccines with places to get them when they are eligible based on age, underlying health conditions and other factors.
For example, those 65 and older will be included in the next phase of vaccines, known as 1B. Pfister estimated it will take "a couple of months" to complete that phase.
And there are other considerations, Pfister said. For example, 40 other people are required for every 10 vaccinators to direct traffic, check documents and carry out associated tasks.
"We're looking at multiple avenues to provide vaccines for all," he said. "People just need to be patient -- it's not going to be the next day."
Lake: Phase 1B could take 'a couple of months' to finish