Cook County Des Plaines COVID vaccine site opens

Site offering Johnson & Johnson vaccines
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Cook County's latest COVID vaccine site opened Friday morning in Des Plaines.

The site, located on Oakton Street not far from O'Hare Airport, is one of the first to offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Appointments for the Des Plaines mass vaccination site can be made at or by phone at (833) 308-1988. The site will be open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

"Today with our opening, we are very excited to say we are offering 800 vaccination slots today," said Ratna Kanumury with Cook County Health.

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Jack Alberts, 83, got emotional as he arrived for his appointment, reflecting on how tough it has been not to see his grandchildren.

"I haven't seen my grandchildren...excuse over a year and that's kind of tough," he said.
Alberts like many others scrambled to book an appointment when Cook County Health opened them Thursday. All 18,000 spots were booked in a matter of hours.

Jill Walsh is a nursing instructor who thought she'd be administering the vaccine way before she was able to get it, but she was lucky enough to get an appointment on the site's opening day.

"I was going to wait for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and didn't expect to get it until this summer so, when it became available locally I was thrilled," she said.

Scott Rovner felt like he won the lottery when he finally got a slot online.

"When it hit it was like 'Oh my God, thank God I got an appointment,'" Royner said. "I just happened to have today off so it just all worked out."

Kevin Schneider is a college student who works at McDonald's and he will celebrated his 19th birthday this weekend as a vaccinated man.

"It's like a weight off my chest, I feel a lot safer," he said.

The new Des Plaines site is for Cook County residents only and becomes the state's first large-scale vaccination site to administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

"It's a single dose vaccine that is safe and effective 100 percent from preventing death," said Kanumury.
Cook County Health says as the site ramps up, it will be able to offer 2,800 slots on a given day.

Right now, four National Guard teams of 18 members are her supporting the effort.

The focus is vaccinating people 65 and older, health care workers and frontline and essential personnel before opening to the general population.

"The federal government has reassured us that they will be able to supply enough vaccine to anyone who wants to receive the vaccine by the end of May," said Kanumury.

Cook County Health says they don't know when they will offer more appointments for this current phase just yet. They said that will depend on vaccine shipments.
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