CHICAGO (CBS) — The effort to protect health care workers with a COVID-19 vaccine is starting – but what about average workers; the general population composed of millions of others in Illinois and specifically Chicago?

As CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reported, the answer from Lindsey Salvatelli of the McHenry Department of Health was, “We all need to be patient with it.”

While hospitals are preparing for their own workers to be vaccinated, now is the time for the average person to talk with their doctor and see if they have any allergies or issues that could complicate getting a shot – because it will be a while before the general public can get one at all.

The vaccine took months to develop, and it will be months more before the average person will be able to receive a shot with its protections.

“It’s not the immediate answer that I think everyone’s looking for for that return to normalcy,” Salvatelli said. “It will take some time.”

Salvatelli described a line of people waiting for COVID vaccines – beginning with health care workers, certain seniors, and eventually essential workers. But there is no formal registration or word on when much of the population could be next, due to demand for the vaccine far outpacing supply.

“With the availability now, it’s going to be difficult to say,” she said.

While there is no line to get in, Salvatelli there is a way to be notified when the line starts.

On Monday, the county launches its E-Notify Program. Residents can sign up to be alerted – whenever the general vaccination process begins.

“We want people to know what’s going on with it,” Salvatelli said.

McHenry County is far from alone in not having an immediate timeline. Cook County health officials on Monday said there is not yet a registration system in place because the focus now is on hospitals.

In a news conference, Cook County officials echoed what Kane, DuPage, McHenry, and Will counties told CBS 2. There is no process yet for an average individual to sign up for immunizations.

In Lake County, that is not the case. Tens of thousands have signed up there to be notified when they can be vaccinated through a web registration and screening process.

Deerfield-based Walgreens told us vaccines will be available at their more than 9,000 stores sometime in 2021.

“It’s going to be quite some time,” Salvatelli said.

The bottom line for most is that there is no formal process to register for yet. But you can check with your city or county website or doctor to get notified on vaccine rollout updates for the general public.

And while most counties are being vague about when everyday healthy people could get a shot, other doctors – as well as Lake County – estimated it would be sometime this spring.

And anytime another vaccine is approved, the chances of that happening get greater, because that is when supply can get closer to demand.

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