Finally, getting vaccine supplies 'not an issue' in some counties
With one in three eligible Illinoisans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and doses flowing in, suburban officials said supply is finally ceasing to be an issue as attention shifts to increasing access and convincing skeptics.
So far, 3,648,936 people -- 36% of the approximately 10.2 million Illinoisans age 16 and older eligible for shots -- have been fully vaccinated, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported Friday.
The "DuPage County Health Department finally saw a significant increase in COVID-19 vaccine supply last week and is working with providers throughout the county to distribute vaccine and administer to any eligible individuals," spokeswoman Stephanie Calvillo said. "As vaccine supply catches up to demand, we will continue to make vaccine available to anyone interested."
In Will County, "vaccine supply is certainly not an issue at this point, and appointments are open to all 16 and older," health department spokesman Steve Brandy said.
Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha announced Wednesday that half of residents eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine had received at least one shot, allowing a renewed focus on some who might be hesitant to get inoculated.
"It's going to take all of us ... to be able to convince individuals to read the science, to understand the data, and to make that decision for them and their families to get vaccinated," Rocha said. "It gets harder from this point forward."
Cook opened up two mass vaccination sites in Tinley Park and Matteson for walk-ins without prior appointments Wednesday and officials expect to expand that program to other suburban locations.
Kane County also plans to open up some clinics for walk-ins soon, health department communications coordinator Susan Stack said. But "I don't think we have reached our tipping point" of having a vaccine for everyone who wants one, she noted.
In Lake County, "at this time our sites are still by appointment, but as demand slows we expect sites in Lake County to offer more walk-in opportunities," health department spokeswoman Emily Young said. "We do have staff on site to work with individuals who may walk up to get them registered and scheduled if there are openings."
On Tuesday, Lake opened a new mass vaccination site expected to be the largest in the county in Round Lake Beach.
Will and Kane County officials said homebound residents need help getting vaccinated.
"We are working with our community partners to provide vaccinations for the homebound," Stack said.
Will County officials are asking homebound residents to fill out a survey to receive vaccination aid.
In a move expected to pick up the pace of vaccinations, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control lifted a pause on the use of Johnson & Johnson's one-dose COVID-19 vaccine Friday. The actions came after the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met and recommended resuming the vaccine but with clear warnings for at-risk groups and health care providers.
The J&J vaccine was paused April 13 so experts could study a rare type of blood clot that occurred in 15 women between ages 18 and 59 from six to 15 days after getting the J&J vaccine. Of those 15 women, three died. About 8 million people have received the J&J shot.
After the CDC decision, the IDPH said Friday it would lift restrictions on the J&J shots and that providers "could immediately begin administering the vaccine."
"I think the message should be to get vaccinated as soon as possible with whichever vaccine is available to you, and there shouldn't be a preference of one vaccine over another," said Dr. Jonathan Pinsky, Edward Hospital's medical director of infection control and prevention.
"However, with J&J, we should be aware and warn people that this very rare adverse reaction can occur in women and if they do have the option of getting another vaccine they may chose to get that vaccine instead. If there is no option and that is the only vaccine available, then this risk being so small will be outweighed by the benefit of being protected against COVID-19."
New cases of COVID-19 reached 3,369 Friday with 22 more deaths from the respiratory disease, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported.
On Thursday, 136,525 more COVID-19 shots were administered. The seven-day average is 118,741.
The federal government has delivered 10,802,075 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December and 8,610,478 shots have been administered.
Vaccines manufactured by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. require two doses several weeks apart.
Illinois hospitals were treating 2,112 COVID-19 patients Thursday night.
The state's seven-day case positivity rate is 3.6%.
Total cases statewide stand at 1,316,091 and 21,777 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.
Labs processed 104,795 virus tests in the last 24 hours.
Cook County Health also opened a vaccination clinic in Summit for walk-ins Thursday but it's limited to Summit, McCook, Hodgkins, Justice, Bridgeview and Chicago Ridge residents.