Cook County unveils COVID-19 vaccination registration form for unaffiliated healthcare workers

Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Cook County unveils COVID-19 vaccination registration form
Cook County unveiled a vaccination registration form for unaffiliated healthcare workers and other county residents.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Cook County unveiled a vaccination registration form for unaffiliated healthcare workers.

The online form will give healthcare workers the chance to register and receive information when a COVID-19 vaccine is ready for mass distribution in the county.

And with a limited supply, high risk individuals are being prioritized.

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Until now, the Cook County Department of Public Health had opened a registry for healthcare workers outside of hospital settings and medical practices to get the vaccine, but the rollout has been under a cloud of confusion.

Originally the language on the county's website indicated the registry was for all residents, then the county corrected itself and said it's only for healthcare workers.

Now county officials have changed their tune again and announced the registry will be for all.

Rose Slowikowski, a registered nurse anesthesiologist who works as an independent contractor, got her vaccine over the weekend after a labyrinthine process.

"For independent contractors like myself, there has been no link to get the vaccine or register for the vaccine," she said. "The communication, the information just wasn't there for providers like myself."

County officials said to keep checking the county website for the latest information as the COVID vaccine rollout continues.

"This is a difficult time because we know that there's a lot of interest in the vaccine- we're seeing surges around the country," said Dr. Kiran Joshi, Senior Medical Officer at the Cook County Department of Public Health.

According to the CDC, Illinois has received roughly 400,000 doses of the vaccine.

With thousands more COVID-19 cases and dozens more deaths in the state, Illinois health officials said delays with vaccine distribution are more crucial than ever.

Over the weekend, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that is just not enough, and added that at the current rate it would take nearly one and a half years to fully vaccinate the city.

While health systems work to get their employees and first responders inoculated as quickly as possible Will County is asking its residents to register online to streamline the process once the vaccine is more widely available.

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Thirteen million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine has been administered so far; far under the 20,000,000 dose goal.

"There's a lag between doses available and being ordered by the providers in the states, shipping and vaccination, especially when you have Christmas and New Year's in the middle," U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said Monday morning.

Roughly 1.5 million vaccine doses were distributed in the last 72 hours.

COVID-19 Vaccine Survey FAQs, provided by Cook County Dept. of Public Health

What are you announcing today?:

We are announcing a webpage where residents living in CCDPH's jurisdiction* and health care workers living or working in CCDPH's jurisdiction can sign up for updates about the COVID-19 vaccines, their distribution and other pertinent information. This vital issue is import to everybody and we are seeking to deliver updated, transparent information directly to the public so that the giant task of immunizing up to 2.5 million residents can be accomplished efficiently and equitably over the coming weeks and months. *CCDPH's jurisdiction does not include Chicago, Evanston, Skokie, Oak Park, and Stickney Township, which all have their own health department. If you live or work in these municipalities, please contact the health department.

Is this a site to register for a vaccination appointment?

It is not. We will provide the latest information on the vaccine rollout throughout suburban Cook County, including where and when you can get vaccinated as soon as that information is available. The CCDPH and our community partners are organizing to vaccinate up to 2.5 million residents, and that will take some time. We are currently prioritizing front line health care workers in Phase 1 of our vaccination plans, a process that should take all of January and into February.

When did the registration open/the link go live?

We conducted a soft launch the evening of 12/30 and plan on reaching out to health care professionals and residents alike to encourage them to sign up for COVID vaccine updates.

Is this open only to people who live or work in suburban Cook County? Is it open to Chicagoans?

It is intended for those who live and work in suburban Cook County. If residents outside our jurisdiction sign up, we will forward the information to their municipality's health department. We are working closely with the Chicago Department of Public Health and other health departments, and we agree that our main priority is to make sure everyone is vaccinated as soon as possible and that no one is turned away. In Phase 1, we are prioritizing health care professionals who live and work in suburban Cook County. As we move from categorizing people based on where they are employed to age-based and general population, we will then begin to prioritize residents of suburban Cook County. However, again, we will be working closely with the other health departments to make sure everyone gets vaccinated as soon as possible.

How many people have registered so far?

Over 40,000 people have signed up to receive consistent and updated information related to COVID vaccines.

Most vaccinations will be given through health providers with some given by the county. Do you expect that some of the people who sign up through this registry will be vaccinated by CCDPH? If so, which ones and when?

We are using the information provided by individuals to categorize them into the phases provided by the CDC/ACIP. We are prioritizing by phase - we are currently in Phase 1, and expect to be throughout January and likely into February. We are relying on our hospitals and pharmacies to administer many of those doses. We will soon be moving into long term facilities, such as nursing homes, to vaccinate residents and employees there.

How do I know what phase I am in and when can I expect to be vaccinated?

This online survey will help us determine vaccination dates. The CDC-recommended schedule of vaccinations prioritizes the doses by several factors, including age, existing health conditions and risk of contracting COVID. CCDPH is prioritizing those communities at greater risk of the virus so that our efforts to combat COVID are as strong and efficient as possible.