Kane County tempering expectations as it prepares for 1b vaccine rollout
Kane County residents are clamoring to book appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations, but that isn't happening yet, because there isn't enough vaccine to go around.
As more doses come in, and more places get certified to distribute the shots, the vaccine will be easier to obtain, county health experts said Wednesday.
Even the tens of thousands of residents who will newly qualify to receive the vaccine in the so-called 1b tier likely will have several more weeks to wait. However, Community Health Director Michael Isaacson said 1b vaccine distribution may begin as soon as next week.
"It's been rather inconsistent on a weekly basis how much vaccine we're getting," Isaacson said. "So a major limiting factor in vaccinating people is how much vaccine is coming in and when we know it's coming."
Some weeks, the county has received 4,000 doses; other weeks, it has received as many as 7,000.
More than 530,000 people live in Kane County, which received its first doses five weeks ago and remains the sole local direct receiver. The first 17,000 doses went to the five hospitals based in Kane County to vaccinate the members of the 1a category.
The 1b group includes more than 75,000 residents who are 65 or older. Some of those people will be served by CVS and Walgreens employees the county partnered with to vaccinate people at long-term care facilities, although most people 65 or older do not live in such facilities. First responders, teachers, child care workers, jail inmates, shelter residents, postal and public transit workers, and people who work in food, agriculture, manufacturing and grocery stores are next in line.
There are 42 locations in the county registered and certified to distribute the vaccine., but they aren't receiving any doses yet.
When enough vaccine is available to distribute directly to doctors' offices and local pharmacies, it will be easier and faster to vaccinate people, Isaacson said.
"This is going to be a long process," he continued. "We understand everyone would like to be vaccinated as soon as possible. Logistically, and with the amount of vaccine that's available, it's not possible to do everyone at once."
The county created a system that allows residents to sign up at https://redcap.dph.illinois.gov/surveys/?s=X4METTTHEK for vaccine information. That system will convert into a first-come-first-served platform for residents to get in line for the vaccine as it becomes available for their priority category.
Some residents are hearing from their personal doctors that they can get on their lists to come in for shots. County officials advised residents to avail themselves of whatever state, county and local doctor lists they can get on. All places that receive the vaccine will be plugged into a statewide database that tracks who receives the vaccine.
"If you're able to get the vaccine through your provider more quickly, I think that's beneficial for you to do," Isaacson said. "That said, it doesn't hurt to be on our list."