Half of suburban Cook County’s COVID-19 mass vaccination sites will close Thursday as demand for the vaccine wanes and officials focus their efforts on community-based vaccination initiatives, according to a Cook County Health release.
Tinley Park, South Holland and River Grove sites will close and be consolidated into sites in Forest Park, Des Plaines and Matteson, according to the release.
“We have accomplished our first goal—vaccinate as many people as possible against COVID-19 with a large-scale strategy,” said Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha in a statement.
More than 267,000 vaccine doses have been administered at the Tinley Park, South Holland and River Grove sites since they were opened, according to officials. Cook County Health has administered more than 800,000 doses in all and approximately half of all eligible suburban Cook County residents have received at least one shot of the vaccine.
“It is critical that we continue to meet people where they are, either geographically or psychologically, to get them vaccinated,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in a statement. “This means going into neighborhoods and working with community-based organizations to ensure that everyone has access to the vaccine and that we can address the issues that cause people to be hesitant.”
The Cook County Department of Public Health has identified 32 municipalities, primarily in the west and south suburbs, as vaccination priority areas and they are receiving additional resources to address vaccine hesitancy and availability.
“The easy part is over. Most of the people who knew they wanted to get vaccinated have been vaccinated,” Rocha said. “Our focus is now on hearts and minds, educating and encouraging those who have not yet been vaccinated get their shot. This will require a very grassroots effort.”
CCH and CCDPH have hosted more than 200 pop-up, mobile and priority access sites to administer 86,000 doses to people in communities where they live and work, according to officials.