Coronavirus Illinois: DuPage County planning drive-up COVID-19 vaccine

Mark Rivera Image
Thursday, December 10, 2020
Chicago area counties prepare to receive doses of COVID-19 vaccine
DuPage County is finalizing plans for drive-up vaccination facilities located throughout the county.

LOMBARD, Ill. (WLS) -- DuPage County is finalizing plans for drive-up vaccination facilities located throughout the county. But before they can start vaccinating the most at risk health professionals and long term care facilities, doses need to get here first.

According to Pfizer, once the vaccine is approved, it will start shipping 2.9 million doses from its plant in Kalamazoo Michigan throughout the country by ground and air with a goal of delivery to all points in 24 to 48 hours.

The vaccine is shipped in a cold temperature-controlled box to maintain conditions of -70C for up to 10 days unopened.

Each box can hold 5,000 doses, has a tracker and temperature monitor reporting back to Pfizer 24/7.

Once the vaccine arrives at the intended location, it can be stored in ultra-low-temperature freezers, which extend shelf life for up to six months.

Or it can stay in the boxes in which it arrives, refilling with dry ice every five days for up to 30 days of storage.

The doses only last 5 days after thawed in normal hospital refrigeration.

In the air, the FAA will know all planes that have the vaccine and give priority clearance.

On the road, UPS and FedEx tractor trailers will have escorts.

US Marshals will be involved in helping to safeguard the transit of vaccine, per a Marshals spokesperson, on routes mapped out over the last few months as they get to local counties.

"We are looking at setting up the sites and in the final stages of setting up these sites so they are geographically distributed across the county," said DuPage County Health Department Executive Director Karen Ayala.

DuPage County Health department has identified partners that can store the vaccine when they receive it and are waiting on more cold storage devices.

"We are committed to not wasting one dose due to our inability to manage the logistics of this," Ayala said.

One of those partner facilities is Loyola Medicine. They'll receive and store doses to begin with. Vaccinations are expected to take months as more and more doses arrive.

DuPage is waiting on just 13,000 vaccines, but has 58,000 healthcare workers and other high risk people that need to be vaccinated, according to Ayala.

The general public is expected to receive vaccines later in 2021.