Starting Next Week, More Seniors Will Get Vaccine, Says Health Department

Lake County, Ill. — The Lake County Health Department announced today that starting Feb. 15 of this year, it will allow COVID-19 vaccination appointments for seniors ages 65 and older who are registered in the AllVax system. Vaccinations of healthcare workers and others eligible as part of Phase 1a are also continuing at the site and through partnering vaccine providers across the county.

People who are registered in AllVax will be notified by email when it is their turn to schedule an appointment. Registrants who do not have email accounts will be notified via phone. Please do not call the Health Department to schedule an appointment.

“We look forward to providing vaccines to our senior population beginning next week at the Lake County Fairgrounds,” said Mark Pfister, Executive Director, County Health Department. “We want our residents to know that our vaccination efforts extend far beyond Health Department clinics—our partners have been vaccinating seniors since Phase 1b started. We continue working through the growing list of Phase 1a healthcare workers and those eligible in Phase 1b, and these phases will continue to overlap. We now have hospitals, healthcare providers, pharmacies, manufacturing employers, and schools working together to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible across the county.”

Vaccinations in Phases

Phase 1a vaccinations began in Lake County in mid-December, when the Health Department began receiving limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine. Phase 1b vaccinations began at partner sites on January 25, 2021.

Many community Points of Dispensing (PODs) are planned to open in the coming weeks. For example, North Chicago and Waukegan seniors age 65 and older can now sign up for a vaccine appointment at a clinic co-sponsored by AbbVie and the City of North Chicago and hosted at Greenbelt Cultural Center beginning February 15. Details about these sites, including who is eligible and how to sign up for appointments, will be updated regularly at www.lakecountyil.gov/vaccine, included in the Health Department’s weekly COVID-19 email newsletter, and shared through the Health Department’s vast network of community partners.

“We estimate that at least 200,000 Lake County residents are eligible to receive their vaccine in Phase 1b, and when our vaccine supply improves and enough vaccinators are in place, it will still take us several weeks to months to get everyone in that group vaccinated,” said Pfister. “If you are currently eligible and are frustrated that you can’t get an appointment, please understand that you are not forgotten, but part of a very large group that became eligible before vaccines were widely available. A majority of our eligible residents do not yet have the ability to schedule an appointment, and we continue working tirelessly to ensure that everyone who wants to get vaccinated will be able to do so in time.”

Anyone who lives or works in Lake County, Illinois is encouraged to register in the AllVax Portal at https://allvax.lakecohealth.org. Registration is free, easy, and secure. People who do not have access to a computer or smartphone to register in the AllVax system may call (847) 377-8130 or email AllVax@lakecountyil.gov for assistance.

How It’s Organized

The AllVax system does not email everyone who is eligible at the same time. It will notify you when all three of these things occur:

  1. You are eligible in the current phase of vaccinations;
  2. The Health Department has received a shipment of vaccine; AND
  3. Vaccination appointments are currently available.

A new option was recently added to AllVax allowing residents to opt-in and consent to allow the Health Department to securely share their registration information with local vaccination partners. This option gives registrants more access to partnering community vaccination sites that open as vaccine supply increases.

Find Other Vaccination Sites

The State of Illinois Vaccine Locator website provides a directory of locations offering COVID-19 vaccines, including dozens of pharmacies in Lake County. At this time, all sites are providing vaccinations by appointment only. Residents are encouraged to check with their own healthcare provider and register with additional vaccine providers who may have appointments available. Please be advised that all vaccine providers have very limited appointment availability due to limited vaccine supply.

The Lake County Health Department’s goal is to vaccinate 80% of the population to achieve herd immunity, amounting to approximately 560,000 residents. At two doses per person, this will require 1.12 million doses of vaccine. As of February 10, the Lake County Health Department has received a total of 54,350 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is enough to vaccinate less than 4% of Lake County’s population. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 60,045 doses of the vaccine have been administered to Lake County residents so far.

For answers to frequently answered questions about COVID-19 vaccination, please visit the AllVax FAQ page.

By Margo Pelak

Margo Pelak is founder and managing editor of the Local Newsreader. She resides in Hawthorn Woods with her husband Dennis and their two wild beasts.

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