Jan. 29, 2021 – The Oak Park Department of Public Health has launched an online vaccine pre-registration form for individuals who live or work here and may be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as part of Phase 1b of the state’s vaccine distribution plan.
The pre-registration form is available at www.oak-park.us/vaccine and is intended to be completed only by people who are eligible as part of Phase 1b, a group that includes individuals age 65 and older and frontline essential workers such as educators, licensed daycare staff, grocery store clerks, pharmacy workers, transit employees, mail carriers and delivery drivers.
Teachers at Oak Park public and private schools do not need to pre-register. The Oak Park Health Department is working directly with employers to schedule vaccine clinics for their Oak Park school employees. K-12 teachers who live in Oak Park, but work in another school system should pre-register here only if their employer is not offering vaccinations.
“I want to stress that filling out the form does not schedule a vaccination, but it will help collect the information necessary to contact those eligible as specific vaccination opportunities arise,” said Oak Park Interim Public Health Director Joseph T. Terry. “The information gathered also will help us better understand local vaccine demand and support ongoing planning and efforts to distribute the vaccine equitably.”
With an estimated 12,000 individuals who live or work in Oak Park likely eligible to receive the vaccine as part of Phase 1b, Terry said it could take several months to vaccinate all that want it given the current supply of vaccine coming to the Village from the state.
Oak Park residents age 65 and older who need help completing the online pre-registration form – or who do not have access to a computer – may contact Oak Park Township Senior Services at 708.434.4298 for assistance.
All other local vaccine inquiries should be addressed to the Oak Park Department of Public Health via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Focus is on equitable distribution
In addition to continuing to provide first and second vaccine doses to Phase 1a-eligible healthcare workers, the Oak Park Department of Public Health also has focused its Phase 1b efforts first on vaccinating residents of local independent living congregate homes because they house many lower-income senior citizens and individuals with disabilities. These facilities also have been hotspots for outbreaks of the highly-contagious virus.
By the end of next week, health officials expect to complete administering first vaccine doses to residents age 65 and older who live in local congregate homes in Oak Park. Plans also are in place to ensure residents of local long-term care facilities that are part of the targeted state/federal vaccination program receive their first doses.
Vaccinations of the general population ages 65 and older could begin as early as Feb. 4 while vaccinations of educators, including teachers and child care workers, and other frontline essential workers could begin as early as the week of February 15, according to the Terry.
“As the Oak Park Department of Public Health begins to host COVID-19 vaccine clinics for Phase 1b-eligible individuals who live or work in Oak Park, respondents to the vaccine pre-registration form will be contacted when a vaccine clinic appointment is available. It could take a while, so we ask for patience,” he said.
Proof of age, residency and/or employment as a frontline essential worker in the Village will be required at all Phase 1b vaccine clinics hosted by the Oak Park Department of Public Health.
Vaccine supplies driving vaccination opportunities
With demand for vaccine far exceeding supply, local officials plan to use information collected through the vaccine pre-registration form to ensure equitable distribution by identifying households with Phase 1b-eligible residents most in need based on age and Census tract data.
In the meantime, the Village also is forging partnerships with local pharmacies, doctor offices and health care providers to broaden the availability of vaccination services across the community.
Filling out Oak Park’s vaccine pre-registration form does not preclude a Phase 1b eligible resident from receiving a vaccine dose from a provider other than the Oak Park Department of Public Health.
As the vaccine supply grows throughout the region, residents are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to be vaccinated by providers other than the Oak Park Health Department should they arise, with the understanding that any required second dose must come from the same provider.
Local officials are working with the Illinois Department of Public Health to receive notification when Phase 1b eligible Oak Park residents are vaccinated elsewhere.
Vaccinating educators, essential workers
To date, the Oak Park Department of Public Health has allocated more than 5,300 first doses and more than 2,200 second doses of the vaccine since the first shipment arrived here Dec. 17.
Prior to Jan. 25, all vaccine doses were directed to healthcare workers eligible as part of Phase 1a per state and federal guidelines.
Local health officials are working directly with administrators in Oak Park public school districts and private schools to plan vaccination clinics for their staffs.
Outreach to local licensed daycare centers is expected to start on February 1 to ensure this important group of workers is included in vaccination clinic planning concurrent with the school system.
Efforts to reach people who provide other essential services to the community as part of the Phase 1b planning could begin by February 15. These include clerks in grocery stores and pharmacies, transit workers, mail carriers and delivery drivers who live or work here, but aren’t being vaccinated by their employers.
The Oak Park Health Department is working with major employers to identify their eligible essential workers and arrange targeted vaccination clinics as vaccine supplies allow.
Residents who are essential workers but not affiliated with Oak Park institutions will be incorporated into this stage of local planning if they cannot receive a vaccination from their employer.
Future vaccination planning
Oak Park’s vaccine pre-registration form is currently not accepting responses from residents who will be eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1c or Phase 2 of the state’s distribution plan.
Officials say they do not anticipate the state will move into Phase 1c until the spring or summer and then will update the pre-registration form to accept responses from newly eligible residents.
For more information
Information about the Village's vaccine allocation plans is posted at www.oak-park.us/covid19vaccine. This webpage also includes details about the multi-phased vaccination guidelines set by the Illinois Department of Public Health that Oak Park is following.
In addition to the website, the Village is sharing vaccination information on its social media channels, www.facebook.com/vopnews and www.twitter.com/vopnews, as well as via email to those who sign up at www.oak-park.us/enews.