CHICAGO (CBS) — Promise of more vaccine is what so many searching for appointments are hanging onto. Demand in our biggest counties is huge and the frustration is real.
Enough for some to make a trip that’s five hours by car, one and a half by plane, all to get one shot and be done with it. CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra reports from the United Center with why people feel it’s still worth it to travel for their shots.READ MORE: Chicago-Operated COVID-19 Vaccine Sites To Begin Accepting Walk-Ins Friday
Part of the reason is confusion over sites like the United Center, and many others that are available to Illinois residents, but then change to specific counties or zip codes. CBS 2 found several people who were done with the back and forth, and booked an appointment all the way in Quincy.
Because they could.
“I’ve been pretty much hunting for a vaccine before they were approved.”
Dan Beider of Glencoe had done his research, and had a good idea of his vaccine plan going in.
“I actually was pretty committed to finding the Johnson and Johnson vaccine,” Beider said. “I wanted a one shot vaccine.”
So he, like so many of us, started scouring the internet for appointments. He found it impossible to book himself a Johnson & Johnson shot in Chicagoland, so he looked west. All the way to Quincy and the Adams County mass vaccination site, open to anyone in the state who’s eligible.
“Lo and behold, they had basically every time slot,” Beider said. “Every day open for appointments.”
Beider had the time and resources. So last Tuesday, he hopped on a plane, got the shot, and was back all in a day.READ MORE: Sources: CPD Officer Shoots Person Along Eisenhower Expressway In West Suburbs; Police Were Pursuing Person Of Interest In Shooting That Killed 7-Year-Old Jaslyn Adams
Adams County is a bright spot when it comes to vaccinations. The data team at CBS 2 mapped numbers from the Illinois Department of Public Health and found that county is leading in the state in the percentage of its population that’s already fully vaccinated.
As of Wednesday, that’s 26.6% of Adams County, compared to just 12.8 percent of Cook County. Zoom out to the collar counties of Lake, Kane and Will and they’re all at 10% of residents fully vaccinated. So you can see why people who can travel for a shot would consider it.
“I say that as a public health physician, it warms my heart that someone would want to be vaccinated that badly.”
Dr. Kiran Joshi with Cook County Department of Public Health understands the desire to look elsewhere, but he’s encouraging those in Suburban Cook County to take heart that more eligibility groups and shots are coming, here at home.
And maybe soon enough, the experience here will be as smooth as Beider’s in Quincy.
“The entire appointment, once we walked in, I want to say we were out of there in less than 25 minutes,” Beider said.
That’s the dream, isn’t it?
Cook County did announce this week it’s opening up to phase 1B+ starting this coming Monday. Communities including Evanston, Skokie and Oak Park that were locked out of the county’s mass vaccination sites can get it.MORE NEWS: Pilot Program To Cut Down On Long Lines At Secretary Of State Offices Causing New Frustrations
Both are signs that access to vaccine is growing.