Chicago health officials say that one out of every three coronavirus vaccine doses sent to the city are being administered to non-city residents, and are calling on the state of Illinois to step up deliveries of doses to help accelerate vaccination efforts.
During a Facebook Live on Thursday, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, called on the state to push more vaccine doses to the northeast corner of the state, citing instances where other areas of the state are seeing surpluses of the vaccine.
“We’ve been in a lot of conversations with the state to please work on pushing additional vaccine up to the northeast, which is the most heavily populated area,” she said. “I’m really pleased there are parts of the state that there’s plenty of vaccine available, but the goal then should be to push additional doses up here because it’s not just Chicago where we see such high demand, but across Cook and Lake counties as well.”
Arwady cited several examples of why non-Chicago residents are receiving doses of the vaccine, including a mass vaccination event for employees at O’Hare International Airport.
“So much of our vaccinating has been through employment and through essential workers, and that’s good….but it also means about one in three of all the vaccine that comes to Chicago has gone to non-Chicago residents,” she said. “We haven’t kept up in terms of Chicago residents getting vaccinated.”
The issue that Chicago is facing has not been done of administration, as Arwady says more than 95% of doses of the vaccine are being administered within seven days of arriving in the city.
“We do need additional vaccine up here,” she said.