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Kane County Doesn't Have A Mass-COVID-19-Vaccination Site, But Official Says It's Not Necessary Yet With Modest Number Of Doses

ST. CHARLES, Ill. (CBS) -- The number of coronavirus vaccine locations seems to be continuously growing - while our supply is dwindling.

The Illinois Department of Public Health doesn't expect widespread availability of first-dose appointments again until March, and weather issues last week only made this worse.

So why are big vaccination centers even opening? As CBS 2's Lauren Victory reported, coordinators in one area county said it is for "optics."

Vacant for 11 years, a former K-Mart was just announced as McHenry County's new mass-vaccination site. DuPage County also switched to a larger distribution location earlier this month, and Lake County is already starting to hire vaccine help.

It may be encouraging. But one Twitter user in Kane County is not feeling positive - asking CBS2 to investigate her Health Department.

"Why are the other counties doing so much better?" she wrote.

"The reality is, we're getting the doses out," said Kane County Board member and Public Health Committee Chair Jarett Sanchez.

The doses are going out through pharmacies and other providers. Sanchez has state data to back him up.

The county's vaccination rate is not the best, but not the worst in the Illinois.

"Everyone looks to these mass vaccination sites as a measure of success," Sanchez said.

So why doesn't Kane have one yet? In part, it is because Sanchez feels their system is working as is - but also because finding a mass-vaccination location hasn't been easy.

Thousands of doses have come through the Kane County Fairgrounds, but the parking lot won't work for the 65 and up crowd.

"It's not very easy for the elderly to access if you have snow and ice and things like that," Sanchez said.

The county is now considering the Kane County Sheriff's office as an option.

"This turned into a prime zone since we have all this space," said Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain.

Ron Hain showed us the area typically used to unload detainees has more been recently functioning as a PPE storage site and spot to vaccinate first responders.

Part of the lobby is also a small distribution location.

The department is also already equipped with a freezer to hold and a fridge to thaw the shots.

Victory: "So if the county came to you tomorrow and said can you open up as a mass vaccination site, what would you say?"

Hain: "I could've done that yesterday."

So why wasn't it figured out yesterday?

"It's not necessary yet," Sanchez said. "If it were a case where we knew getting 50,000 doses in every week, we would have a mass vaccination site or two already up and running."

Instead, the County received less than 1,500 doses to give out last week.

Sanchez hopes to finalize and announce Kane's mass vaccination clinic locations this week.

He admits county communication could be better, and said a marketing team is now on board to revamp the vaccine website and provide better updates.

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