Health officials in suburban DuPage County say that over the next three weeks there will be a large reduction in the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses available to residents seeking their first dose of the vaccine.
According to a press release from the DuPage County Health Department, officials only expect to receive 2,450 vaccine doses for those individuals seeking their first dose of the medicine. That number is far below the 14,000 new vaccine doses that have been administered weekly since the treatment became available in December.
The reason for that lower allocation is a push by officials to administer second doses of the vaccine to those who have already received their first dose, and as a result only extremely limited appointments will be made available for those seeking their first dose of the vaccine.
The DCHD expects that the shortage in allocated doses will last for three weeks, with more doses becoming available in early-to-mid March.
“Given these emerging variants alongside ongoing vaccination efforts, supply remains the single greatest challenge in not being able to swiftly vaccinate more people in DuPage County. We, too, are frustrated with the insufficient and unpredictable supply our County is receiving. Particularly, since we have established a strong network of community partners with the capacity to currently vaccinate at least 50,000 people per week, yet we are receiving 5% of this capacity next week,” said Karen Ayala, Executive Director of DuPage County Health Department. “We are hopeful that more vaccine will be available in the next several weeks, so we will continue to expand our network and be prepared to get the vaccine into people’s arms as quickly as possible once it is available.”
The department says it will continue to focus on those individuals eligible for the vaccine in Phase 1A and 1B of the state’s vaccination plan. Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that the state will expand eligibility for the vaccine in Phase 1B, with those aged 16-64 with co-morbidities and underlying conditions now eligible for the treatment, but DuPage County will not participate in that expansion, according to DCHD officials.
According to DCHD, 138,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered since Dec. 17. Approximately 36,059 residents are now fully vaccinated with two doses, according to officials.