Officials have converted the inside of an old Kmart store into a mass vaccination center in McHenry. | Provided Photo.

Local businesses partnered with city and county officials to open a COVID-19 mass vaccination center at the former Kmart store in McHenry.

The center, located at 1900 North Richmond Road, will allow the McHenry County Department of Health to rapidly scale up the delivery of inoculations once the supply of vaccine becomes more reliable.

McHenry County Board Chairman Mike Buehler lauded the city and its volunteers for braving the snow and freezing cold to convert the building, which has been vacant for 12 years, in just 11 days.

The opening comes as the county has learned that its supply of the vaccine for first doses will be significantly reduced for the next several weeks as Illinois prioritizes shipments for those due to receive their second shot. Weather is also delaying shipments of vaccines to the state.

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“The amount of vaccine that McHenry County has been receiving has been far short of what we need, but once supply comes closer to meeting the enormous demand, we’ll be ready to ramp up, thanks to the hard work and generosity of the people of McHenry,” Buehler said.

Buehler has formally requested the state to allocate more doses to McHenry County. “We understand how frustrated people are with the pace – we hear you. We are ready to roll once we get a steadier and more reliable flow of vaccine,” he said.

The facility will offer inoculations by appointment to people who have enrolled through the McHenry County Department of Health.

Officials have converted the inside of an old Kmart store into a mass vaccination center in McHenry. | Provided Photo.

The enrollment form can be accessed online here or by calling the department’s COVID-19 call center at 815-334-4045.

“The City of McHenry is truly appreciative of our community business partners who came together to make this mass vaccination site a reality,” McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett said.

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“We are honored to partner with the Department of Health to assist them in their mission to vaccinate McHenry County. I wish to extend special thanks to BET Investments for providing us an 87,000-square-foot building, and to all our local partners for their gracious donations. We couldn’t have put this plan together without them,” Jett added.

Jett also thanked city staff and local donors which included Sherwin Williams, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4600, Home Depot, Prairie Land Disposal, Jett’s Heating & Air, Eby Graphics, and ZFRM Law.

The McHenry County Department of Health said they are making every effort to get residents inoculated but vaccine supplies remain limited.

“We owe a big thank you to the City of McHenry for their contributions in standing up a permanent vaccination site for the county,” said MCDH Public Health Administrator Melissa Adamson.

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“This location will serve as the primary vaccination site and the size of this facility will allow us to grow our vaccination efforts as more vaccine comes online. We are extremely fortunate to be a part of a team working toward a common goal to meet the needs of our residents,” Adamson added.