The National Guard has been overseeing the coronavirus vaccination rollout across Illinois over the past month at several locations.
Earlier this week, a vaccination site opened at Triton College with the Illinois National Guard assisting in the distribution process.
Illinois National Guard Maj. General Rich Neely said officers are involved in the organizational aspects of the vaccine rollout.
"Our main strength is to bring a large number of people, organize, do logistics, and be able to support a large effort like this," Neely said.
Soldiers have been given various tasks to help accelerate the process. Senior Airman Smith Traylor will perform as many as 40 COVID-19 vaccinations Thursday alone.
"This is what I do. I'm a medic. I am in nursing school," Traylor said. "It's just very rewarding.
Neely said as of Thursday about 550 guardsmen were on duty, with that number increasing to 1,000 within the next few weeks across the state.
The state of Illinois has added 80 new COVID-19 vaccination sites, according to a news release from state health officials Thursday.
More than 3.2 million of the state's residents are eligible for vaccinations under Phase 1B, which includes people age 65 years and older as well as "frontline essential workers."
In all, 390 vaccination sites have opened across the state.
The newly-established sites include 78 additional Walgreens locations, as well as two Illinois National Guard locations in Cook and St. Clair counties.
Current vaccination sites in the state are available by appointment only, but the state plans to launch walk-in locations in the coming weeks, officials previously said.
For a complete look at ways you can make an appointment or where you can receive vaccine information for your area, click here.
Illinois recently started vaccinations at a number of drug store and grocery chain pharmacies in the state, including Walgreens, Jewel-Osco, Mariano's, Kroger and Hy-Vee.
In total, the chains make up more than 300 of the state's 390 locations. They include:
• Hy-Vee– 16 locations
• Jewel-Osco – 92 locations
• Kroger– 17 locations
• Mariano’s – 6 locations
• Walgreens – 170 locations
Eight Walmart locations in Chicago were also administering COVID-19 vaccinations as of Wednesday, the company announced.
The two new National Guard sites bring the total number of state-supported sites to 12.
Here's the latest list of locations:
• Arlington Heights Health Center – 3250 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights
• Belle-Clair Fairgrounds – 200 S. Belt E #2650, Belleville
• Blue Island Health Center – 12757 S. Western Ave., Blue Island
• Cottage Grover Health Center – 1645 Cottage Grove Ave., Ford Heights
• East Side Health District Mobile team – various locations in East St. Louis
• Morton East Adolescent Health Center – 2423 S. Austin Blvd., Cicero
• North Riverside Health Center – 1800 S. Harlem Ave., North Riverside
• Provident Hospital – 500 E. 51st St., Chicago
• Robbins Health Center – 13450 S. Kedzie Ave., Robbins
• John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital – 1969 Ogden Ave., Chicago
• Tinley Park Convention Center – 18451 Convention Center Dr., Tinley Park
• Triton College – 2000 5th Ave., River Grove, T Building on the East Campus
Several local health departments are also providing the vaccine across the state.
Still, despite the added locations, Illinois officials continue to urge patience, saying vaccine supply is limited.
"While we are working to increase the number of vaccines administered daily, we are limited by the amount of vaccine available and allocated by the federal government," Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office said in a release. "Vaccinations are available only by appointment at this time and we encourage people to check back frequently for open appointments. Until the supply is increased, there will be a great demand and we ask people to be patient. Individuals should be signing up for an appointment to receive their second dose while they are getting their first vaccination."