Suburban Counties to Focus on Second Vaccine Doses During Supply Shortage

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If you are eligible for the COVID vaccine there may be some bumps in the road over the next few weeks, as several Chicago area county health departments told NBC 5 they are facing a vaccine shortage.

“There’s frustration because we want to get more people get vaccinated and do the best we can,” said Will County Public Health Department spokesperson Steve Brandy.

Brandy said only about 55,000 doses of the originally scheduled 365,000 doses will arrive this week.

As a result, the Will County Health Department and the DuPage County Health Department said they will focus on people getting their second vaccine doses.

“I think it’s particularly unfortunate because we have a very large group of individuals in front of us, even in the original Phase 1B population, who are ready, willing and very able to, to be vaccinated,” said Karen Ayala, executive director of the DuPage County Health Department.

Beth Rrodriguez of Glen Ellyn said she and her sister have been trying help their mother, Kathy Rodriguez, schedule her first vaccine dose.

“We’ve been very unsuccessful checking websites from all the different pharmacies,” said Beth Rodriguez.  “My mom is registered at three different hospitals to get notifications when it’s available and so far we’ve had no success.”

As part of NBC 5’s “Vaccinated State” panel to answer viewer questions about the coronavirus vaccine in Illinois, IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike responded to a question about why there isn’t a waitlist for the vaccine in Illinois.

Kathy Rodriguez said she is hopeful that she can get back to her normal life with the vaccine.  Although, she said she would still wear a mask and maintain social distance once vaccinated.

County officials are urging individuals not to be discouraged by the expected vaccine shortage in the coming weeks. They urge people to continue to check with pharmacies, doctors and employers for information about the vaccine.

Both county health departments say they've been told that supply of the vaccine should pick up within three weeks.

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