Cook County Health will be consolidating mass COVID-19 vaccination sites across the area to focus on expanding community-based initiatives, the department announced Wednesday.
The Tinley Park, South Holland and River Grove vaccination sites will be combined into the locations in Forest Park, Des Plaines and Matteson, according to CCH.
“It is critical that we continue to meet people where they are, either geographically or psychologically, to get them vaccinated,” said Toni Preckwinkle, President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. “This means going into neighborhoods and working with community-based organizations to ensure that everyone has access to the vaccine and that we can address the issues that cause people to be hesitant.”
CCH identified 32 municipalities as priority areas for COVID vaccinations based on the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control's social vulnerability index and the COVID community vulnerability index.
According to the health department, the prioritized communities, mainly in the west and south suburbs, are being given additional resources related to vaccination efforts.
“The easy part is over," CEO of CCH Israel Rocha said. "Most of the people who knew they wanted to get vaccinated have been vaccinated. Our focus is now on hearts and minds, educating and encouraging those who have not yet been vaccinated get their shot. This will require a very grassroots effort.”
Since opening, more than 267,000 vaccine doses have been administered at the Tinley Park, South Holland and River Grove sites, with over 800,000 administered throughout all Cook County.