CHICAGO (CBS) — As Illinois scrambles to keep up with demand for the COVID-19 vaccine, CBS 2 is looking at how efficiently the counties are putting shots in arms.
As CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reported, the progress report from the DuPage County Health Department is better than some of its neighbors when it comes to the percentage of people who are fully vaccinated.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Mainly Clear And Not As Cold Sunday Night
Why is that?
Retired CBS 2 photographer Chuck Davidson – a DuPage County resident – wasn’t camera shy Thursday afternoon.
“I’m not going to get to Hollywood,” he said, “so it doesn’t matter.”
But it did matter that Davidson, 77, had a pleasantly smooth vaccination process last week.
“It was effortless, it was painless, and it was really actually a really good experience,” he said.
With 2.43% of its population fully vaccinated, DuPage County is ahead of the state’s average of less than 2%.
It’s also ahead of the other counties in the area. For example, Cook County is hovering below 2% of its residents fully vaccinated, despite having a larger stockpile of actual vaccine doses per capita.
And we wanted to know – why is that?
“It’s a complicated and woven kind of process,” said DuPage County Health Department Executive Director Karen Ayala.
Ayala said there is not a straight answer as to why they might be slightly ahead. But she credits their partnership model that they established right off the bat -they have 80 provider locations approved to give shots, and so far about 30 of them are getting regular shipments of vaccine.READ MORE: At Least 20 Shot, 2 Killed In Weekend Violence In Chicago
Also, they hired non-medical staff to shepherd patients through the physical process – allowing them to book appointments tightly.
“To really help with that customer side, if you will, of the vaccination efforts,” Ayala said.
Moving to the nearby DuPage County Fairgrounds starting next week should close to double their productivity. But Ayala warns supply remains a huge limitation.
“Yes, our current supply is just excruciatingly low,” she said. “We have the passion we have the energy we have the structure, we have the system in place to make sure that as soon as we receive vaccine, we can allocate it.”
As for Davidson, he said, “The faster they can get it out the better and the more supply they can get, the better.”
Ayala says DuPage is currently getting about 10,000 doses per week – but it would take close to 300,000 doses total to vaccinate all of group 1B.
The department advised that anyone who lives or works in DuPage County should register for updates about when and where COVID-19 vaccine will become available at this link. Those without access to a computer or who need help with the registration process should call the Health Department at (630) 682-7400.
The department said about 42 sites in DuPage County are now receiving vaccine – though many just for specific populations. DuPage County has also distributed vaccines to pharmacies such as Jewel-Osco, Mariano’s, Meijer, and Walgreens. Limited vaccine supplies have also been allotted to health systems serving DuPage County – including Advocate Aurora Health, AMITA Health, DuPage Medical Group, Edward Elmhurst Health, and Northwestern Medicine – as well as independent medical practices, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and others.
We’ve put together several links to help you find the vaccine in our area. But remember that finding an open slot near you may be difficult:
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