illinois covid vaccine

Chicago-Area Residents Driving Hours for COVID-19 Vaccine

NBC Universal, Inc.

With many having hard time finding doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the Chicago area, some frustrated Illinois residents have taken an unconventional approach and decided to hit the road.

Ashley Miller, of suburban Burr Ridge, drove two-and-a-half hours last week to receive her first shot in Danville after reading on the "Chicago Vaccine Hunters" Facebook group that an Illinois Department of Public Health site opened up appointments to anyone over 18 years old.

"The process was completely seamless," she told NBC 5.

Due to high demand, several Chicago-area counties have yet to expand eligibility beyond the current vaccine rollout phase, 1B Plus.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker previously said the state will open eligibility to all Illinois residents over the age of 16, except for those in the city of Chicago, beginning on April 12.

Ann Kreiter, an NBC 5 employee, said when she became eligible for the vaccine last week, she couldn't find an appointment in the Chicago area. So, she decided to make the four-and-a-half hour trip to a mass vaccination site in Quincy.

"Yes, you have to drive four-and-a-half hours to get to Quincy, but then it's the Johnson and Johnson shot, so it's one shot. You're done, you drive home, and you're good to go," Kreiter said.

Melissa Caldwell, a Western Springs mother and fitness instructor, also drove to Danville last week after hearing from a friend that a village mall vaccination site there was accepting walk-ins.

"I talked to the woman that was giving me the shot, and I just kind of asked her, like, how did you get these, and they don't really know but she literally said, our goal is to get these into as many arms as possible," she said.

Miller, who went to an IDPH site that administered doses of the Moderna vaccine, said she hopes to schedule her second dose closer to home.

"I'm hoping again by the time the end of April comes for my second dose that it feels like Chicago opening up now, hopefully I'll be able to do that easier but if not, I'm happy to get back in the car and head south again," she said.

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