Cook County Health Department will consolidate three of its six mass vaccination sites, including Tinley Park Convention Center. On Thursday, health officials celebrated the site for its role in helping vaccinate thousands of Illinoisans.
Cook County Health officials announced that its COVID-19 vaccine sites in Tinley Park, South Holland and River Grove would merge with its mass vaccination sites in Forrest Park, Des Plaines and Matteson. Cook County said the effort is to redeploy “resources to support hyperlocal, community-based vaccination initiatives, as demand for vaccinations at mass sites wanes locally and across the country.”
“It’s a real milestone,” said Toni Preckwinkle, President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. “I was here on Jan 25 as we opened this site.”
On Thursday, staff held a celebration for those who helped the county’s vaccination efforts.
“Today, we are having an exciting event, which is the graduation of our Tinley mass vaccination site,” said Israel Rocha, CEO of Cook County Health System. “So graduation means that we’re really going to be moving our resources to other local and hyperlocal sites.”
The staff at the Tinley Park Convention Center’s vaccination sites celebrated its last day in operation.
“It’s been tremendous,” Preckwinkle said. “I can’t say enough good things about our National Guard, women and men, and about our own staff in the Heath and hospital system. They distributed thousands of shots per day.”
When vaccines were first being administered, demand was high. Although vaccine hesitancy has increased and vaccine demand has lessened, Cook County Health officials were thankful for Tinley’s convenience and accessibility.
“About half the country wanted the vaccine immediately, so sites like Tinley were really important,” Rocha said. “The number of folks using the site has gone down.”
Thus far in Illinois, 11,113,382 vaccine doses have been administered – 2,322,151 in cook County. So far, 43.42% of Cook County is fully vaccinated.
“We have accomplished our first goal—vaccinate as many people as possible against COVID-19 with a large-scale strategy,” Rocha said. “The easy part is over. Most of the people who knew they wanted to get vaccinated have been vaccinated. Our focus is now on hearts and minds, educating and encouraging those who have not yet been vaccinated get their shot. This will require a very grassroots effort.”