CHICAGO (CBS) — The number of COVID shots is going down.
The number of daily doses is dropping. The state is now averaging about 92,000 doses a day in Illinois. That’s down 22% from just last week.
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What does that mean for local health departments, who have been working tirelessly to get shots in arms for months?
CBS 2’s Meredith Barack reports from the Lake County Fairgrounds, where they’re asking to receive fewer doses from the state. Because the Lake County Health Department had 1,000 unfilled appointments at the fairgrounds.
That doesn’t mean that many doses will go to waste, but rather the health department is going to be scaling back on how many doses it’s requesting.
“A few weeks ago, you could not get an appointment. We were completely booked, said Patti Corn. She the Emergency Response Coordinator for the Lake County Health Department.
Today? Plenty of availability.
“This has actually been a very smooth process. It’s really set up like a factory in here, so everything’s been going great,” said Nicholas Vlies, who was there getting his second shot.
Despite the lack of crowds, the Lake County Health Department said it is vaccinating 2,000 people a day at the fairgrounds. But it has the capacity to vaccinate many, many more.
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“It’s a little disappointing because there are so many more people that need to be vaccinated or should be vaccinated,” Corn said. “And to have empty appointments and to have the staff here and to have the vaccine available, we’d really like to fill those slots.”
The empty slots have resulted in a first for the health department.
“We would get to Mondays where we would only have one to two vials. We got down to almost zero so we would wait for that next shipment to come,” Corn said. “So now I think this is the first week we actually have vaccines sitting in the refrigerator from one week to the next.”
Two weeks ago, the health department received 15,000 first doses. Last week, it was 34,000. This week, 47,000 first doses were delivered, forcing them to request fewer doses from the state for the first time.
“We are using what we have on hand,” Corn said. “So we have months to use that but we try to turn over our inventory weekly.”
With walk-in availability beginning Saturday, Corn is hopeful the ease of just showing up will encourage more people to get their shot.
“Whether your registered through AllVax or not, you can come on in Saturday afternoon, someone will get you registered in AllVax, set your appointment and you can be immediately vaccinated,” Corn said.
The Lake County Health Department also has a call center that is reaching out to seniors, and other residents who haven’t been back for their second dose to get them scheduled.
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