Both of Naperville’s counties, DuPage and Will, are anticipating moves into Phase 1b of Illinois’ COVID-19 vaccination plan.
Projected Transitions to Phase 1b
DuPage County announced via a press release on Wednesday that they hope to start vaccinating those who qualify under Phase 1b starting January 25. Will County does not have a projected date to start with Phase 1b, but Will County Health Department Public Information Officer Steve Brandy said that will come soon.
“The picture looks better every day,” he said. “Last week we were saying three weeks to a month [before moving to Phase 1b]. This week, we’re saying over the next 1-2 weeks.”
Leading the Pack
DuPage County currently leads all Illinois counties in percentage of population fully vaccinated at 1.51%. Will County is 11th in that metric, but six counties ahead of them have less than 100,000 residents.
Phase 1a of the vaccination plan focuses on getting healthcare workers vaccinated. Phase 1b includes residents over the age of 65 and frontline essential workers like first responders, educators and education support staff, grocery store employees, and more. That will bring an estimated 3.2 million Illinoisans into eligibility for the vaccine.
More Doses Needed
Both DuPage and Will County spokespeople referenced inconsistency in the amount of doses made available to them each week.
“The demand for vaccine currently exceeds the supply available to us which means it will take time to fully vaccinate those in DuPage County,” said DuPage County Health Department Executive Director Karen Ayala. “We ask for everyone to understand that we can only administer the vaccine that is available to us each week through both the Health Department and our network of partner providers in the community.”
Brandy said the county is capable of administering more vaccine if they are supplied with more and many community partners, pharmacies, and other organizations have offered to help vaccinate. He said he’ll be watching Governor J.B. Pritzker’s press conferences, hoping to hear about more doses on their way.
“I don’t think anything about the state trying to go to 1b next week will surprise us. We know that, every county is different, we will be fully into it when we’re done with 1a which will be soon,” said Brandy. “But good heavens, if he said something today about ‘I spoke to the president, vaccine will be coming on a more consistent basis starting next week,’ that’s what I want to hear. If I hear that today, I’m going to be happy.”
How to Register for the Vaccine
You can register for COVID-19 vaccine appointment notifications with the DuPage County Health Department or the Will County Health Department. You’ll be asked to verify your identification for age- or employment-based eligibility. After registering, your health department will contact you to schedule your vaccine appointment, based on what phase of distribution you are in.
DuPage expects it to be about 12 weeks to vaccinate all individuals eligible in Phase 1b.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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