By Marie Saavedra

CHICAGO (CBS) —  Around 3.7 million people in the state now fully vaccinated.

That’s almost 30% of the population.

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But in one suburban county, those numbers are even higher. DuPage County is leading the pack when it comes to COVID vaccinations.

CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra spent the day figuring out why.

DuPage started off this vaccination effort like every place in Illinois, waiting on doses. But when it finally got a supply, the strategy in delivery was different from other counties, which explains the numbers.

“The more convenient, the better.”

That is the mantra Karen Ayala, Executive Director of the DuPage County Health Department has lived by in her effort to get people vaccinated. Now at the end of April, it has the doses needed.

“Well, for the first time last week, our supply equaled our demand.”

 

And data shows people living in DuPage are eager to get the shots. The CBS 2 Vaccine Tracker is compiling numbers from Illinois Department of Public Health. CBS 2 ranked the top five counties with the highest percentage of their residents fully vaccinated.

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Sangamon, home to the state capital is first with 35.6%. Monroe and Adams County to the south and west follow, then it’s DuPage County at 32.8% of the population vaccinated, tied for fourth with Mercer County, near the Quad Cities.

DuPage is the clear leader in our area, with Cook County the closest at 30.8%.

Why is DuPage doing so well?

Ayala said it’s because unlike most counties, shots went to people’s doctor’s offices in the first phases.

“We wanted to make sure that people were getting their vaccines from their primary care doctor,” said Ayala. “And it was coming with that sense of security and kind of affirmation that yes, this is the right thing to do.”

Later, pharmacies and a mass vaccination site at the DuPage County Fairgrounds helped, but Ayala said that immediate outreach from doctors made finding shots simple and eased any hesitancy.

The goal is to keep these numbers high, to get DuPage to herd immunity faster.

“As a culture and as a community, we want what works and we want the best, and we’re seeing that with the vaccine.”

DuPage County said with more supply and staffing, it’s been able to increase the doses given at the fairgrounds to 2,000 people a day.

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And those appointments are filling up daily.

Marie Saavedra