VIDEO STORY: Kane County Health Department Stresses Patience as Phase 1B Begins

VIDEO STORY: Kane County Health Department Stresses Patience as Phase 1B Begins

 

In a Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 26, 2021) report to the Kane County Committee of the Whole, Kane County Health Department Assistant Director for Community Health Michael Isaacson said COVID-19 vaccine demand in Kane County presently is way ahead of supply and emphasized patience to groups in the 1B category — people age 65 and over and frontline workers — who are eager to get a shot in the arm.

Isaacson said vaccine is shipped from the federal government to the state, which then distributes vaccine doses to local health departments.

“No one wants to be told to be patient,” Isaacson said. “But this is going to take time.”

Because officials are unsure of how much or when the county will receive additional doses of the vaccine, Isaacson said Kane County is taking “a more conservative approach to scheduling clinics.”

Isaacson said the national and state planning is evolving and might ultimately lead to direct shipments of vaccine to pharmacies or other health agencies, rather than exclusively through local health departments, so it isn’t prudent for the county to set up online appointments or open mass vaccination sites until officials know more about the supply and the logistics.

The last thing he wants to have happen, he said, is to schedule a mass vaccination event for a week from now, then find out there aren’t any doses to give.

The logistics are daunting and the timing is tenuous. As just one example, Isaacson said there are about 75,000 people in Kane County age 65 and older. About 13,000 doses were delivered to Kane County last week, but “we don’t expect to get any this week,” Isaacson said.

Isaacson said the county’s strategy is and will be “to push the vaccine out to as many places as we can.”

That might be your local doctor’s office or pharmacy or at care facilities and senior centers or at clinics specifically for first responders. The Health Department will communicate vaccine distribution updates via links on its website homepage and via email notifications.

Once the vaccine supply is more certain, Isaacson emphasized that the Kane County Health Department is fully prepared to implement any type of distribution.

“Even though we have a much higher demand right now than we have supply, I think as I look on the bright side of things, it’s pretty exciting that we’re going to be able to distribute it,” he said. “We have the infrastructure and the logistical capacity that can push this vaccine out to people.”

Kane County Public Health Committee Chairman Jarett Sanchez said he understands people’s frustration during these early stages, but he asked for residents to be understanding.

“Colleagues in other counties — they’re in the same situation we are,” he said. “We are not alone in this. Just realize we are at the beginning of one of the largest vaccination programs this country has ever seen. Nothing is going to unfold the way we think it should, but everything you’re going to hear tonight is that we are doing all we can.”

“We very much want to temper expectations,” Isaacson said. “Because this is just rolling out now. We’ve just come into Phase 1B.”

Interim Kane County Health Department Director Kathy Fosser opened the meeting with an assurance that the vaccine is coming and will be the most effective way to return to some form of normalcy in our daily lives.

“We’re at the beginning,” she said. “But I like to think that we’re at the beginning of the end.”

COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments From Pharmacies

COVID-19 vaccination locations are now posted on the Kane County Health Department website at https://www.kanehealth.com/Pages/Vaccine_Appointments.aspx

The KCHD also posts links to the websites of pharmacies that are scheduling appointments — although in the early stages, many have been overwhelmed with requests.

These are the links posted on the Health Department website:

Cold storage packs and the simple fact that each person must receive two doses of the vaccine are among the challenges the Health Department is facing.