New Kane-Cook mass vaccination site opens on Elgin’s east side

‘The virus does not respect county lines’

ELGIN – Officials from Kane and Cook counties and the state of Illinois gathered Wednesday morning to open a Kane-Cook-Elgin mass vaccination site at Eastside Recreation Center, 1080 E. Chicago St., Elgin, where all eligible state residents may get the COVID-19 vaccine.

This is the third site in Kane County, in addition to those set up in Batavia and Aurora.

Aaron Stevens, an emergency response supervisor with the Kane County Health Department, said they were starting out with a smaller amount of doses to be sure of proper staffing and enough supply, but the goal is to get 800 to 1,000 doses per day, six days a week, through Oct. 30. Appointments can be made online kanevax.org or by calling 855-452-6382.

Dr. Rachel Rubin from the Cook County Department of Public Health urged the public to seek out this new site or any other in order to get vaccinated.

“Obviously, the virus does not respect county lines,” Rubin said. “So you all have to work together as one against this continued threat. We are certainly concerned with the current increasing numbers of new infections being reported over the last two to three weeks or so.”

Rubin said vaccination against the coronavirus “is the single-most important thing we can do to mitigate an impending surge.”

“The vaccines have been shown to prevent severe disease requiring hospitalization and death, even if not all infections are prevented due to the emerging variants we are beginning to see in Illinois,” Rubin said. “So we still need to wear a mask. We still need to social distance. We still need to wash our hands. We still need to do all those things. But I’m so happy we are pushing out this joint vaccination site for our residents and all of Illinois, but especially focused on our underserved populations here in the Elgin area.”

“Everyone please,” Interim Kane County Health Department Director Kathy Fosser said. “It’s so important. Get your vaccinations. We have another site available.”

Kane County Board Chairwoman Corinne Pierog said the new site is unique and easily accessible for the public.

“Also, it’s unique because it’s a wonderful partnership between two great counties, Kane and Cook,” Pierog said.

Pierog credited the leadership of State Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin and State Rep. Anna Moeller, D-Elgin, as they “brought us to the site and said, ‘This is a perfect fit for the people of Elgin,’” Pierog said.

“But it’s not only going to serve the people of Elgin, it’s also going to serve any Illinois resident who would like to come here to get the vaccine,” Pierog said. “We want to make sure that accessibility and availability to receive this important life-saving serum is available to anybody who wants it. … If you don’t come and get the vaccine, we’re going to come knock on your door and convince you why you should get it.”

Elgin City Administrator Rick Kozal said of the collaboration to set up the site: “This is government at its best.”

“We have state agency, two counties and a municipality identifying a need in the community and working collaboratively to provide services and resources necessary to meet that demand,” Kozal said.

Also speaking at the opening were Moeller and Castro.

“I’m excited to be here at the opening of this important facility here in our community,” Moeller said. “I think Rick Kozal put it very well, that this is truly the best of government, an innovative approach to collaboration and making sure that we are meeting the needs of our most vulnerable and at-risk populations here in the Elgin area.”

Moeller urged members of the public who have not yet been vaccinated to take advantage of the availability being expanded on Elgin’s east side.

“Because we know the vaccine is safe, that it works and this is going to be the way that we’re going to re-open our economy and get back to normal and keep each other safe,” Moeller said.

Castro agreed, saying Elgin is in two counties and officials in both recognized that and worked together.

“I think this was an incredible accomplishment of multi-jurisdictional areas,” Castro said.

“But I would be remiss not to thank staff – many staff at the city of Elgin, Rick Kozal – thank you for going to different sites to try to land this site,” Castro said.