FOREST PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Nearly six months after closing them for lack of demand, Cook County is bringing back three mass COVID vaccination sites.
When the last shot was administered at Forest Park's mass vaccination site nearly six months ago, demand had dwindled now that shots were readily available at local pharmacies. But with demand on the rise, Forest Park will be the first of three sites to reopen, starting Wednesday.
"So the vaccine is readily available, but appointments to get the vaccine aren't readily available," said Dr. Nimmi Rajagopal, Cook County Health community and family medicine. "Pharmacies, doctor's offices are really getting overwhelmed right now. So we want to do our part."
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The omicron surge and vaccine mandates have led to the appointment shortage, and the numbers are still behind what officials would like to see.
Once open, these sites will offer all three approved vaccines - Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, and people can get either their primary shots or their boosters.
"Eighty percent of Cook County has gotten the first dose and 40 percent has gotten the booster, so we really need to get that booster number up," Dr. Rajagopal said.
The sites scheduled to open this week are Forest Park on Wednesday, Jan. 19, Matteson on Thursday, Jan. 20, and Des Plaines on Saturday, Jan. 22.
Hours of operation will be Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Walk-ins are welcome, but those with appointments will be prioritized. Appointments can be made online at vaccine.cookcountyil.gov.
COVID vaccine: Cook County brings back 3 mass vaccination sites amid appointment shortage