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‘We are in the race to vaccinate’: Lake County Fairgrounds vaccine site increases capacity

A Lake Zurich firefighter/paramedic administers a COVID-19 vaccine at the Lake County Fairgrounds. | Photo by the Lake Zurich Fire-Rescue Department.

Health officials said they are transitioning the Lake County Fairgrounds to walk-through appointments — instead of drive-thru — in order to increase vaccination capacity by 66%.

The Lake County Health Department said the transition to walk-through appointments will occur on Monday and they will no longer provide drive-through appointments.

The change will allow increasing the available appointments from 1,500 vaccinations a day to at least 2,500 vaccinations a day.

“We expect our vaccine supply to continue to increase, and we are eager to get as many residents vaccinated as quickly as possible,” said Mark Pfister, Executive Director at the Lake County Health Department.

“Now that the weather is warmer, the transition to walk-through service at the Lake County Fairgrounds enables us to serve more residents each day.”

Those who arrive at the fairgrounds for their appointment should park in the main Expo Hall parking lot and may only enter the Expo Hall at their confirmed appointment time.

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Masks and social distancing are required inside the building. Handicap parking is available and wheelchairs are available for those who have mobility needs.

“Please let our traffic assistants know if you need a wheelchair when you arrive. For anyone with mobility issues, we encourage you to bring someone with you who can assist. You do not need to come by yourself,” the health department said.

The fairgrounds site provides all three vaccines authorized in the United States — Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson — depending on the current supply available.

The health department said they are unable to provide a choice of vaccine brand for first doses.

“The best vaccine to get is the first one available to you. All three authorized vaccines are extremely safe and effective,” Pfister said.

“We are in the ‘race to vaccinate’ as cases are again climbing in the United States, and we urge every resident to do their part to protect themselves and others,” he added.

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The Johnson & Johnson Vaccine is available at the Waukegan regional vaccination site, which opened on April 1 and is located at 102 West Water Street in Waukegan.

That site continues to offer drive-through and walk-through vaccinations by appointment only through AllVax.

They are currently offering COVID-19 vaccination appointments on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. On Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, the Waukegan site provides free COVID-19 testing from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.