DuPage County to scale back on first-dose vaccination appointments, focusing on administering second doses

Progress in COVID-19 vaccine administration continues with approximately 140,636, or 15%, of DuPage County residents being vaccinated with at least one dose and 47,391 residents, or 5.1% of the county’s population fully vaccinated with two doses, as of Thursday, according to a DuPage County news release.

However, due to the limited vaccine supply of first doses provided by the state, DuPage County Health Department’s [DCHD] Community Vaccination Clinic and other local vaccine providers are scaling back first-dose appointments and primarily focusing on administering second doses in the coming weeks, the release stated.

This week, DCHD received 4,510 first vaccine doses. From this allocation, 2,540 doses were distributed to pharmacies, 400 doses were distributed to medical practices, 400 doses were distributed to Federally Qualified Health Centers and 1,170 are supplying the DCHD Community Vaccination Clinic.

To provide additional information to residents and stakeholders, DCHD has launched a COVID-19 vaccine data feature on the current COVID-19 Dashboard to provide county-specific vaccine data, including first dose allocations by week and allocations by provider type at www.dupagehealth.org/covid19data.

“Although the demand for vaccine far exceeds supply at this point, we urge residents not to be discouraged. The vaccine supply is expected to increase over the coming weeks and months as additional doses become available and more vaccines are hopefully approved for use,” Karen Ayala, executive director of DuPage County Health Department said in the release. “We continue to expand our vaccine distribution infrastructure with over 110 approved vaccination partners. The only constraint is the limited vaccine supply but when the supply is ample, we will have the ability to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible.”

Current Illinois Department of Public Health [IDPH] vaccine inventory reports show DuPage County Health Department has 3,120 vaccine doses and community partners have 42,894 vaccine doses on hand as of Feb 23. However, the reported vaccine inventory does not separate first and second doses accurately, which can be misleading, the release stated.

Each vaccine provider receives a matching number of second doses to ensure people are fully vaccinated with two doses, but these arrive at variable times before they are needed. This means providers may have inventory on hand, but a portion of that inventory is allocated for second doses and may not be immediately used per current IDPH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, according to the release.

While the county strongly supports the governor’s office and IDPH efforts to get doses out as quickly as possible, the reported vaccine inventory on hand does not accurately represent doses available that can be used to vaccinate more people. In fact, DCHD and its vaccine partners are monitoring inventory very closely, the release stated.

As of Wednesday, more than 80% of all vaccine inventory on hand is allocated for second doses that will be administered in the coming days. The limited remaining first dose inventory will be administered to new individuals during upcoming vaccine clinics, and will be exhausted within one week.

To ensure effectiveness of these vaccines, DCHD will continue to follow CDC guidance on prioritizing and administering second doses to individuals who have received a first dose. This guidance includes making sure vaccine is available for people when they return for their second dose. However, if an individual does not return within 42 days of their first dose, that dose will be used as a first dose for another eligible individual.

The health department and vaccine providers in DuPage County remain focused on vaccinating the 270,000 people in DuPage County previously eligible in Phase 1b and assuring that all healthcare workers who meet Phase 1a criteria have also had the opportunity to be vaccinated, according to the release.

Since Dec. 17, more than 164,000 doses of vaccine have been administered to residents and in the past week over 21,000 residents have been administered.

All individuals who live or work in DuPage County are welcome to register for vaccine at www.dupagehealth.org/covid19vaccine. DuPage County will not be expanding to the Phase 1b Plus group that includes individuals ages 16 to 64 years with co-morbidities and underlying conditions, as well as individuals with disabilities until vaccine supply significantly increases, demand in the current group declines, or a significant proportion of the current group is vaccinated.

Based upon national reports and trends shared from IDPH, DCHD expects the vaccine supply will increase over the next few weeks, and additional new first dose appointments will become more accessible in March. Residents who are eligible in Phase 1a or 1b and are interested in receiving vaccine should register on DCHD’s website at www.dupagehealth.org/covid19vaccine or call 630-682-7400 if assistance is needed with registration.

Also, they should contact their primary care doctor or local retail pharmacy for appointment availability and explore additional opportunities through other vaccine providers in the area. For a list of available locations compiled by the IDPH, visit https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/vaccination-location.

Individuals who have registered with DCHD will receive weekly updates on the progress of the county’s vaccination efforts. Once it is their turn, they will receive a link to schedule their appointment with DCHD or another healthcare provider. While individuals wait their turn, they may also contact their healthcare provider and private pharmacies for earlier appointment opportunities.

Additional COVID-19 vaccine information about County efforts, frequently asked questions, vaccination data, and more is available at www.dupagehealth.org/covid19vaccine. For general questions about COVID-19 and Illinois’ response and guidance, call 1-800-889-3931 or email DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV.