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Will County Health Department disappointed about mix of good and bad vaccine news from state

For the past several weeks the Will County Health Department (WCHD) has been asking the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) for more information about COVID-19 vaccine supplies that are on their way.

Ever since the first vaccine delivery in December, arrivals of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccine have been very sporadic, with little information about how much is coming and when.

The good news is that starting this week, WCHD is now being told three weeks out how much is scheduled to arrive. But the bad news is the number of doses is way below what was hoped for, and way below what is needed.

Although enough doses are scheduled to arrive for those already having received their first doses to be able to receive their second doses on time, the amount of vaccine allocated for first doses is very low for the next couple of weeks. And for residents who registered on WCHD's on-line information form to be contacted for vaccine appointments, this will likely mean more waiting and more frustration.

"With over 181,000 having registered with our on-line information form, it shows that numerous Will County residents desire to have the vaccine, and that's exactly what we wanted all along," said WCHD Executive Director Sue Olenek. "However, with vaccine doses all over the state coming in at much less than hoped for, it's going to take longer for many on the list to be contacted to make their first appointment. We continue to ask for patience and understanding from all. This is a vaccine driven process. No matter how many wonderful volunteers we have, and we have an amazing team here, we still need the vaccine."

"As of February 17th, Will County has provided 77,791 vaccinations through mass vaccination clinics at the health department, as well as through partnerships with over 35 community organizations and pharmacies," said WCHD Director of Mass Vaccination Cindy Jackson. "We have administered the fifth highest number of vaccinations in the state (behind the City of Chicago, Cook County, and DuPage and Lake Counties), and we are poised to continue to expand mass vaccination efforts and the transfer of vaccine to partners when the vaccine supply improves."

"Unfortunately," Jackson continued, "we are currently receiving very small allocations of vaccine for first dose appointments over the next three weeks. During that three-week period, we will receive 6,000 to 10,000 doses of vaccine each week that is allocated for second dose appointments only. This vaccine shortage has already resulted In our inability to open more vaccination clinics next week, but thankfully, due to planning efforts, it has not resulted in cancelled appointments."

WCHD continues to ask for patience with vaccine supply issues; and for all residents to please continue to practice the THREE W's (Wearing your mask properly, Watching your distance, and Washing your hands frequently), as the battle against the Coronavirus pandemic continues.

For more on COVID-19, please go to willcountyhealth.org.


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