WAUKEGAN -- The Lake County Health Department is announcing “Seniors Week” from April 5-11, 2021, a communitywide effort to help seniors get their COVID-19 vaccines.
“Vaccinating our seniors has been a top priority at the Lake County Health Department because it is the best way to prevent severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19,” said Mark Pfister, executive director at the Lake County Health Department. “In the week before Illinois opens up eligibility to everyone over age 16, we are asking our community to help us reach every senior who has not yet been vaccinated and make sure they aren’t left behind.”
There are about 101,000 seniors age 65 and older living in Lake County. The Illinois Department of Public Health has reported that about 72,000 Lake County seniors (71% of the senior population) have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 43,236 seniors (43% of the senior population) are fully vaccinated. Therefore, there are potentially 30,000 seniors remaining in Lake County who have not yet received the vaccine or have been vaccinated outside of Illinois. All Lake County seniors registered in AllVax have been made eligible to schedule an appointment at the Lake County Fairgrounds or Water Street site in Waukegan.
Everyone is encouraged to get involved during Seniors Week – for example, check in on your senior neighbors and family members, assist them in registering for their vaccination on AllVax, at a community vaccination site or on pharmacy vaccination provider websites; help them schedule appointments; offer them a ride to their appointment; or help them find information about vaccination options and answers to questions or concerns they have.
There are many ways you can get involved during Lake County Seniors Week:
• Monday, April 5 – Seniors Week Kickoff: Watch your email inbox for a special Seniors Week edition of the COVID-19 newsletter, including information and resources you can share with others. Commit to simple ways you can personally help our seniors get vaccinated.
• Wednesday, April 7 – Join the Conversation:
• Noon – Tune into TUDN Radio 1220 AM (or listen online) for a Spanish language discussion on COVID-19 vaccinations with host Jorge Trujillo. Call in with your questions at 847-244-1220.
• 3 p.m. – Join the 102.3 WXLC Facebook page for a livestream discussion with midday host Frank Wright on COVID-19 vaccines and getting involved during Seniors Week. Geared toward younger adults – submit your questions in the comments.
• 5:30 p.m. – Tune in to WGN Radio 720 AM (or listen online) as Executive Director Mark Pfister discusses senior vaccinations with Chicago’s Afternoon News host Steve Bertrand. Join the conversation with your questions by calling or texting (312) 981-7200.
• Thursday, April 8 at 1:30 p.m. – Ask a Doc: Join Medical Director Dr. Les Zun for a Facebook LIVE discussion on the importance of vaccinations for seniors and their families, the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, vaccine side effects, how to discuss vaccinations with your loved ones, and more.
• All week, follow the Health Department on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for #LCSeniorsWeek content, including behind-the-scenes on the community effort to bring vaccines to homebound and hard-to-reach seniors, mass vaccination sites around the county, and to hear from Lake County residents sharing the reasons why they are choosing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Health Department provides support for COVID-19 vaccine registration through its AllVax Support team, Mondays-Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. by phone at 847-377-8130, and by email at AllVax@lakecountyil.gov. During special senior hours, additional volunteers are available to take calls to assist seniors in registering and finding an appointment:
Tuesdays: Noon to 3 p.m.
Thursdays: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Fridays: Noon to 3 p.m.
During the hours listed above, seniors calling 847-377-8130 can select option 1 to be routed to a volunteer. If you leave a voicemail, a staff member or volunteer will call you back.
Since the pandemic began, at least 6,886 Lake County seniors age 65 and older have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and 780 have died from the disease. This represents 12.2% of all COVID-19 cases and 82.1% of all COVID-19 deaths in Lake County.
According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), risk for severe illness with COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk. Certain medical conditions can also increase risk for severe illness. People at increased risk, and those who live or visit with them, need to take precautions to protect themselves from getting COVID-19. The CDC recommends that adults 65 years and older be one of the first groups to receive COVID-19 vaccines. For more information, view the CDC’s page, What Older Adults Need to Know about COVID-19 Vaccines.