COVID-19 mass vaccination sites coming to Batavia, Carpentersville
Kane County will soon open COVID-19 mass vaccination sites in Batavia and Carpentersville that will become the main hubs for local residents seeking what county board Chair Corinne Pierog described as "a tsunami of vaccines" she expects in coming weeks.
The county worked with the Illinois Department of Public Health to select sites in areas that officials hope will address the current low number of Black and Hispanic residents receiving vaccinations compared to their white neighbors.
County board members approved rental agreements for the sites Tuesday but raised some concerns with the six-figure costs, as they haven't fully nailed down where the funding will come from.
The largest site will open in April at 501 N. Randall Road in Batavia. It is a vacant retail space that most recently housed a Sam's Club. The county will use 20,000 square feet of the 137,000-square-foot building at a cost not to exceed $220,000 until Nov. 1.
Pierog said the site was chosen, in cooperation with IDPH, Batavia and Aurora, because of its accessibility to public transportation and existing restroom facilities. Batavia, Pierog said, has offered to pick up all electricity costs. And, Aurora officials have agreed it is located in a convenient area for their residents.
"I shared with (Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin) this opportunity on Randall Road, and he said it would be close enough," Pierog said. "Aurora is not forgotten."
The other site is at 200 S. Western Ave. in Carpentersville, and will open soon after the Batavia site. It is a vacant retail space most recently used by Big Lots. The county will use 20,000 square feet of the 37,000-square-foot facility at a cost not to exceed $300,000.
Pierog said the Illinois National Guard was involved in the selection and preferred the site because of the proximity to a relatively large, and unvaccinated, minority population.
Both vaccination sites will operate six days a week.
The combined $520,000 in six months' worth of rental costs raised several comments by county board members about hopes landlords might come down in price in recognition of the property being used to address a health crisis.
"In a time of a pandemic, and what we're all going through with many families suffering, and businesses, I just think that's a really high amount of rent they are asking for," said county board member Barb Wojnicki.
County staff said they are in final negotiations and hope to reduce the costs. County officials said they have some money left over from the federal CARES Act and a state grant to pay for some of the costs. They also believe IDPH and the national guard will chip in some money.
Jarett Sanchez, the board member leading the committee overseeing the county's CARES Act dollars, said cost can't be the main factor in this decision.
"It's not an endless wallet that we have," Sanchez said. "But the mass vaccination sites are something the community wants to see, expects to see. We are happy to oblige."