Illinois COVID vaccine rollout frustrates residents in Chicago, suburbs; appointments, doses, data hard to find

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Illinois COVID vaccine has left people around the state frustrated with lack of appointments, doses, and confusing information that seems to lead them in circles.

The state moved to Phase 1B, which expands eligibility to more essential workers and people 65 and older, on Monday, but many people still have not been able to get an appointment both for their first shot, or their second.

"I even went out at five this morning. I thought well maybe there's a window that opens up for those early risers," said Christine Melone, qualified resident for vaccine.

Melone said she tried four different online sites to get an appointment.

"It's such a frustrating experience," she said.

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Joanne Parker has been trying to get a Walgreens appointment for her second dose of the vaccine.

"I'm grateful and very happy that we got the first. But to me, the first is no good if you don't have the second," she said.

Mark Zivin also got appointments for both himself and his wife, but he said they were not given appointments for the second dose, so he is searching for available vaccine again.

"They have to have a system where if you get the first shot, you can get the second shot because otherwise where are we? And, it's probably only going to get worse as more and more people do get their first dose," Zivin said.

Walgreens released a statement on the availability of appointments for the second dose, saying, "Our scheduling tool on our website has been updated to allow eligible individuals make appointments for both first and second doses at the same time. We will be contacting those who have already received their first dose with steps to make their second dose appointment."
The latest information the State of Illinois reports over 145 thousand people are fully vaccinated. That is 1.14% of the state's population.

"This can be solved with a database, callback system, automated, on the web, make the websites better. These are all doable," Zivin said.

"I just had breast cancer surgery in December. I'm due to start radiation. I would like to feel protected, and I don't have any priority over anyone else," Melone said.

Local officials urged patience and shared their own frustrations with not having enough vaccine for everyone.
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