Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is here, the big question everyone wants to know is “How do I get it?”
Both DuPage and Will counties are currently vaccinating those in Phase 1b. That includes those 65 or older and any frontline essential workers.
Supplies are limited, so the process is going to take some time. However, health department officials say there are a number of steps you can take to make sure you have the best chance of securing an appointment.
COVID-19 Vaccine by County
Second: Check the State of Illinois’ website to find vaccination locations near you. You can enter your zip code and see which providers are in your area. There are several Walgreens, Jewel Osco, and Mariano’s locations currently serving as vaccine sites, which are listed on the map. You can try finding appointments directly on their websites.
Third: Check with your primary physician’s office. Some medical groups have a place to sign up for notification or appointments once vaccines are available.
“We encourage people to sign-up for as many lists as possible and get vaccinated at their first opportunity.” said Stephanie Calvillo, Public Information Officer with the DuPage County Health Department.
Vaccine Supply and Demand
Finally, be patient. The demand for vaccines currently outweighs the supply, so the process is slow going. Will County health officials say there are nearly 100,000 seniors in the county hoping to get the vaccine; however doses are only arriving in shipments of 2,000 incrementally.
The Will County Board approved a new COVID-19 call center to assist the health department with call response about vaccines. The county will contract the work to Harris & Harris for $1.6 million for six months, with the firm handling intake requests and providing follow-up calls to remind residents of vaccination appointments and second-dose scheduling. The new call center will have 25 operators, five of whom will be bilingual in Spanish. It should open within the next two weeks.
Will County is also working with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Emergency Management Agency to ensure that once supply opens up, it can have mass vaccinations sites ready to go.
New Developments Mean More Vaccination Opportunities
The DuPage County Health Department announced their plans to expand and relocate their COVID-19 Community Vaccination Clinic on Tuesday. The clinic was relocated to the DuPage County Fairgrounds at 2015 Manchester Road in Wheaton. County officials said this will allow the department to expand its vaccination capacity as vaccine supply allows. The clinic will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by appointment only.
The health department has also expanded its call center. This is meant to support residents with COVID-19 vaccine registration, answer questions, or assist those who don’t have access to a computer and internet. Anyone who needs help can call 630-682-7400.
Additionally the Naperville and Lisle Townships Triad and Naperville Senior Task Force are hoping to make the vaccination process easier for local seniors. They’re looking for volunteers to “buddy up” with a senior who needs help making a COVID-19 vaccination appointment, and help transport the senior to the appointment if both parties are comfortable. Those interested in volunteering can email Jim Hill or Rick Graffagna at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com respectively.
Vaccine or Not, Continue Precautions
Health officials remind the public that precautions must still be followed to help slow the spread, whether vaccinated or not.
“As residents wait for vaccine to be available to them, the Health Department urges everyone to do their part in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by wearing face masks, physical distancing, avoiding in-person gatherings, washing their hands, and isolating or quarantining when necessary. Everyone, including those who have been fully vaccinated, should continue using these measures to help end this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions.” said Calvillo.
Naperville News 17’s Kim Pirc and Ryan Skryd report.
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