CHICAGO (CBS) -- Before the week is over, three new COVID mass vaccination sites will open in Cook County.
They originally opened last spring when getting your hands on vaccine was much trickier, but they later closed. Why are they opening back up as vaccine is now widely available?
CBS 2's Chris Tye reports from one of the sites in Forest Park with some answers. Sixty-nine percent of Illinoisans aged five and over are fully vaccinated. The push to get that number higher combined with a stress on doctors offices and pharmacies is what's behind this latest round of re-openings.
At its peak last summer, 4,000 people a day were getting vaccinated in a former big box store in Forest Park. It's one of several mass vaccination sites run by the Cook County Health Department.
But four months after its spring opening, it closed in July as a demand cooled and most public health departments shifted to a model stressing local, neighborhood pop-up clinics. This week, the big boxes are opening again for those rolled up sleeves. In Forest Park, Matteson and Des Plaines.
The demand placed on hospitals, doctor's offices and pharmacies during the Omicron spike has made access to vaccinations a little trickier or daunting. The county health department hopes, with state support, it will create broader access to vaccination for individuals across the county.
In Chicago the vaccines dividing line is stark. As of last Thursday:
*61% Latin X
*50% for Black Chicagoans.
While access to the vaccine is no longer hard to get, the return of big boxes may be a big opportunity for the vaccine hesitant to find an easier path to fully vaccinated status. The site in the Forest Park Plaza at Roosevelt and Des Plaines opens Tuesday. The Matteson location opens Thursday and the Des Plaines location on Saturday.
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