DeKalb County sees decline in allocated COVID-19 vaccinations

By Elisa Reamer, News Editor

DeKALB – Illinois is currently facing a 75% reduction in distributing the vaccine during Phase 1B, which is affecting possible recipients in DeKalb County who are eligible to receive the vaccine during the new phase. The county is expecting 200 to 300 doses for the next two weeks instead of the previous 1,200 doses per week. 

“Reduction in vaccines is released statewide; that’s not just in DeKalb County,” said Lisa Gonzalez, DeKalb County public health administrator. “The allocation for a three-week period is reduced in order for the state to cover second dose vaccines that are needed throughout the state.”

The DeKalb County Health Department has been working hard to push out the vaccines and treat the individuals who fit the characteristics of Phases 1A and 1B. 

Since Feb. 17, the health department has fully vaccinated 3,069 people but has administered 13,225 doses, according to Illinois vaccine data

Gonzalez said the biggest challenge the health department is facing right now is how the state distributes the vaccine to counties based on population. She said they will need to receive more vaccines in order to vaccinate the entire community. 

“We’re being told that after this three-week time period, we should start to see doses increase not only in DeKalb County but throughout the state,” Gonzalez said. 

Most university students do not meet the qualifications to receive a vaccine at this time. Individuals 16 or older with underlying conditions will be able to receive one beginning Feb. 25. 

“So we’re hoping that by summer we would be moving forward and the vaccine would be more widely available,” Gonzalez said. “I think the number one thing that we’re all hoping for is that we can get more vaccines and that we can get those vaccine opportunities to increase locally, which hopefully will include those who are university students as well.”

Gonzalez asks everyone to stay patient during this time. Gonzalez said she wants to help bring the community back to normalcy safely. 

“It is important for residents to know that even though they are eligible in Phase 1B, it will take time before they are notified of their eligibility to register for an appointment,” according to the DeKalb County Health Department website. “There is no need to verify your registration into the notification system, as over 30,000 people have submitted a survey since early-January.”

The university hasn’t made an announcement to require vaccines for students returning to face-to-face classes. 

People who are interested in receiving the vaccine and would like to sign up for notifications to check when there are openings should access the DeKalb County Health Department website.