Work Samples

How the Lake County Health Department is still working to get people vaccinated


Declining vaccine interest among adults is not deterring the Lake County Health Department from continuing its work to educate and encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.


As the pandemic wanes, health authorities continue to encourage members of the public to get vaccinated.


Mark Pfister, executive director at the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center, said they’ve noted less community interest in the vaccine among adults.


Lake County distributes an average of about 5,000 doses of the vaccines per week, which Pfister said satisfies the demand in the community.


He said authorities are noting that a number of adults still are seeking the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.


But Pfister said he believes the need for mass vaccination sites has run its course.


“We’re doing smaller venues, smaller mobile sites,” Pfister said. “We’re doing some smaller sites in churches and other locations. We’re bringing the vaccine to people’s neighborhoods to make it as convenient as possible.”


The health department started inoculating children age 12 to 17 with Pfizer beginning May 13, when federal authorities issued emergency authorization to distribute the vaccine.


Pfister said the effort to vaccinate children age 12 to 17 is filling the gap where there is a declining community interest among adults.


County efforts to encourage people to get vaccinated aren’t stagnant, despite the decreased interest noted among adults.


The health department has been allowing walk-ins. Health authorities used to require appointments earlier on during the vaccine distribution process.


A new partnership between the Lake County Health Department and Six Flags Great America is offering people a chance to try their hand at winning free tickets to the Gurnee-based amusement park in exchange for getting vaccinated.


Pfister said he hopes the initiative will encourage those eligible to get inoculated if they haven’t already.


“Supplies are limited,” he said. “Once we go through the 8,500 tickets, we won’t have those.”


Pfister described the county’s vaccine supply as ample.


The health department last month resumed distribution of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.


“We’re still getting requests for the Johnson and Johnson, which is great,” Pfister said. “We’re making all three vaccines available to people.”


Health authorities shifted the distribution following the federal emergency pause on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, mostly because the supply of the vaccine was limited, officials said.


“We had just begun to receive and distribute supply before the pause, and our supply has continued to be very limited,” said Hannah Goering, the health department’s marketing and communications manager. “We are offering it for those who request it at the Fairgrounds vaccination site.”


Pfister said the county’s supply of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines remain similar in quantity.


It remains unclear whether the community’s interest in the Johnson and Johnson vaccine has wavered because of the federal emergency pause.


Goering said the health department doesn’t have reports on the level of community interest.


Pfister said he believes the county’s vaccine distribution is going according to plan.


“We have not had any issues with any adverse events,” he said. “It’s going really well.”