Vaccine supplies are increasing, but the increase in the allotment to the City of Evanston Public Health Department is negligible, said Mayor Stephen Hagerty during a Vaccine Q&A session held Thursday afternoon.
The City expects to receive between 900 and 1,400 first doses per week during the first three weeks of March, a modest increase from the run rate over the past seven weeks. “We are hopeful that allotments will increase, but this has not happened yet,” said Ike Ogbo, Director of Evanston’s Health and Human Services department.
Evanston is not sitting on vaccine doses. “When we get additional doses, we use them right away,” said Greg Olson, the City’s Public Health Director. The City’s Health Department sets up a clinic within days of receipt of a new shipment of the vaccine. For example, Evanston received doses on March 3 and immediately set up a closed clinic for March 5, he explained.
“Is Evanston receiving its fair share of the vaccine?” The answer is an emphatic “No” from the Mayor and Health Department Director. Figures published by Illinois Department of Public Health and the City of Evanston support this conclusion. Evanston has received about 16,000 doses to-date or 213 per 1,000 people. The State of Illinois has received more than 4 million doses or 315 per 1,000 people.
Capacity – people, equipment, and space for vaccinations in Evanston – is not the issue. The City and partners, such as AMITA Saint Francis Hospital Evanston, have the capacity to administer far more vaccinations than doses available – as many as 1,200 to 1,500 shots per day, estimates Mayor Hagerty.
The City is currently vaccinating seniors ages 68 and 69 and hopes to complete vaccinations for all seniors, 65 and older within the next several weeks.
Mayor Hagerty urged Phase-1b-eligible Evanstonians to register with pharmacies, healthcare providers and for mass vaccination events – such as the federal- and State-sponsored clinic at the United Center in Chicago, scheduled to open next week – due to the limited supplies allotted to Evanston.
Evanston residents currently are not able to register for Cook County’s mass vaccination site in Des Plaines. Evanston, like several other cities within Cook County, has its own public health department. However, Mayor Hagerty said he is working with the State and County to sort this out. Stay tuned.
Updated, February 6, 2021