More vaccine opportunities coming to Lake County
Lake County continues to advance on various aspects involving COVID-19 vaccines, but availability remains an issue as demand outpaces supply.
"We had 1,800 calls yesterday," Mark Pfister, executive director of the Lake County Health Department, reported to the county board Friday.
"A lot of the questions are related to 'When will I get my vaccination?'"
Anyone registered on AllVax now can share information with other health care providers in Lake County, including hospitals and pharmacies, that will be providing the vaccine.
The intent is to provide greater access to more locations as the vaccine supply increases. Lake County will receive 7,700 doses next week, he said.
To date, the county has received 49,850 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, Pfister said, and it is not stockpiled.
"They're fully allocated," he said. "We only get doses once a week. Vaccine comes in and vaccine goes out."
Pfister said there are a "couple thousand" health care personnel and long-term care facility residents in Phase 1A still to be vaccinated.
The focus has shifted to Phase 1B, which includes teachers and school personnel, front-line essential workers and those 65 and older.
But there is a long way to go as there are 203,327 people in category 1B, including about 100,000 people 65 or older, according to Pfister.
Closed vaccine sites opened this week at Round Lake and Stevenson high schools in a partnership involving 45 school districts, Pfister noted.
At Round Lake High, 884 vaccines were administered in the first two days. The goal is to vaccinate 20,000 in that category within 10 weeks, he said.
Pfister said he's asked the county's six hospitals to concentrate on giving vaccines only to those 65 and older, and he also is working with AbbVie and Abbott.
Meanwhile, the county has increased the number of vaccines administered at its Lake County Fairgrounds site from 400 to 600 per day.
"Our goal is to get more volunteers into it to expand capacity even greater," he said.
And more avenues are coming.
A free temporary vaccine clinic will be available to North Chicago residents 65 and older beginning Feb. 15 at Greenbelt Cultural Center, 1215 Green Bay Road. The clinic, which will operate for two months, is sponsored by AbbVie in partnership with North Chicago Community Partners and the county health department.
"We're pushing out vaccine to Mariano's and also to Jewel-Oscos," Pfister said. "There are going to be more outlets to make appointments to get vaccinated."
Pfister likened the situation to passengers on a plane wanting to be upgraded to first class. Everyone wants to be there, but only so much room is available, he said.
Besides supply, finding appropriate facilities and people to administer vaccines is part of the issue, Pfister said.
"We absolutely have to get every provider that can vaccinate to vaccinate," he said.