CHICAGO (CBS) — The rollout of COVID-19 vaccine is running slowly in Illinois and across the country – and on Monday, 5,059 new cases of the virus were confirmed.
As CBS 2’s Jim Williams reported Monday evening, not a lot of the vaccine has arrived in Illinois considering the state’s population – and of the amount that has arrived less than half has been used.
It is a tense time for Mary Lou Kroll and her sisters.
“I’ll be 70 years old this year and I have three sisters. We’re 60, 70, 74 and 76,” Kroll said, “and I can’t even see them.”
Kroll and her sisters are all waiting to get the COVID vaccine.
“I’m extremely anxious and fearful and I can’t sleep,” she said,
She has ben reaching out to hospitals and public health agencies in the western suburbs.
“I’ve tried everything I’ve called everywhere,” Kroll said.
It’s been slow going. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so far, 427,000 doses of the vaccine have been sent to Illinois – population 12.6 million.
A total of 176,000 people here have received the first dose, or 41 percent of the vaccine in the state now.
Still, logistics expert and head of Northwestern University Transportation Center Hani Mahmassani tells us: “This is better than the national average. The national average so far has been more around 35 percent, and so overall as a state, we’re doing a little better.”
At the top of list of those getting the shots now are health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. Lake County has a website for others living and working there to learn when the vaccine will be available. More than 152,000 people have registered for the vaccine in Lake County.
Cook County’s Public Health Department said it too had an online vaccine registry, but later Monday clarified that right now it’s only open to health care workers.
A website is also set up for Will County. More than 33,000 people have signed up there.
Mahmassani wants to know if distribution of the vaccine across the country ramps up now that the holidays are over and more workers are back on the job.
“I’m watching really closely this week and next week for how the states are going to be handling this,” he said. “Hopefully, they have realized that they’re not quite absorbing the product at the rate at which it is arriving.”
Kroll and her sisters social distance and wait nervously.
“We do everything right, but we just can’t get the vaccine,” she said.
Experts we talked to say older Americans could get the vaccine by the end of the next month.
There will be massive public information campaign to let the general public know when the vaccine is widely available. Meantime, some health care providers will notify patients using websites like MyChart.
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