61% of eligible McHenry County residents fully vaccinated, health department says

Illinois Department of Public Health reports almost 53% of all county residents, regardless of eligibility, are vaccinated

With an increase in vaccinations, the McHenry County Health Department reported Monday that 61% of eligible McHenry County residents are now fully vaccinated.

The number represents the amount of people who can get vaccinated, which is generally everyone older than 12, and have chosen to do so, Public Health Nursing Director Susan Karras said at the county Board of Health meeting Monday evening.

This number is different than the share of the entire population, regardless of vaccine eligibility, that is fully vaccinated. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 52.77% of McHenry County residents are fully vaccinated as of Tuesday.

Karras said isolating the number down to those who can get vaccinated helps them get a better picture of how well the county is getting people vaccinated who are eligible to get the shot.

McHenry County currently is vaccinated 810 people a day on average, according the IDPH. After the county’s seven-day vaccination rate trended downward for the beginning of the summer, it has generally been increasing since the end of July. On average, twice as many people are getting vaccinated each day compared with July 27, when the county was averaging 401 vaccines a day.

The increase in vaccinations comes as cases are rising throughout the county. Cases of COVID-19 are increasing in all ZIP codes and among all age groups, Karras said Monday.

On the vaccination front, Karras said the lower vaccination rates in the county continue to be in the western half, but they are seeing positive signs. She said more Hispanics are getting vaccinated and more Hebron residents are getting vaccinated.

“We’ve seen a big jump in vaccinations there and we are going out in those areas and we are making progress, but it still remains low,” Karras said.

Another positive sign is the increase of teenagers getting vaccinated.

“I think school is helping us to get the kids vaccinated,” Karras said, adding vaccinations have increase among people between the ages of 15 and 19.

Karras said she is hopeful vaccination requirements by colleges will also help get more people in their 20s vaccinated.

“That population is kind of difficult to reach because they think they’re invincible and are just kind of like ‘whatever,’ so we’re trying to reach that population to get them vaccinated. We’re hoping the universities help there as well,” she said.

With the delta variant surging around the country and in Illinois, Karras said the variant is still present in McHenry County. Last month, the county announced five samples of the COVID-19 virus from the county were of the delta variant.

Karras said she isn’t sure how many cases there have been since because not all COVID tests are sequenced to check their variant. But she said it safe to assume delta cases are circulating based on the variant’s trend toward the nation’s dominated strain of the virus.

McHenry County has had 39 people who were fully vaccinated become hospitalized since January, Karras said Monday. She said she could not give a full count of the number of people who have been hospitalized regardless of vaccination status because patients are sometimes readmitted to the hospital and can result in double counting a single hospital admission.

While an exact percent of vaccinated and unvaccinated patients at Northwestern Medicine’s Huntley and McHenry campuses also could not be provided, the “overwhelming majority” of COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated, hospital spokeswoman Michelle Green said in an email.

Karras said fewer than 10 people in the county who were fully vaccinated have died from the virus, although she said she cannot share the exact number of deaths when the number of people is less than 10 because of privacy policies.

Ben Szalinski

Ben Szalinski

Ben reports on local news in Harvard, Marengo, Huntley and Lake in the Hills along with the McHenry County Board. He graduated from the University of Illinois Springfield Public Affairs Reporting program in 2021. Ben is originally from Mundelein and enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with friends and family.