The Oak Park Public Health Department has not yet progressed into the second phase of the state’s multi-phased COVID-19 vaccination allocation program, due to “limited” and “unpredictable” vaccine supplies and the large number of healthcare workers who live and work in Oak Park, according to a Jan. 14 village news release. 

Oak Park’s government is still in phase 1a, which consists of vaccinating essential healthcare workers. Oak Park’s health department personnel are helping to inoculate healthcare workers by hosting drive-thru clinics.

“Yes, the Oak Park Department of Public Health is vaccinating 1a eligible residents who are not affiliated with a hospital or medical employer authorized to vaccinate its employees,” David Powers, village spokesperson, told Wednesday Journal.

 “Individuals being vaccinated during these ongoing Phase 1a clinics include medical physicians, workers at independent local pharmacies, dental practices and local funeral homes and residential congregate care workers who directly support persons with developmental disabilities or the elderly.” 

Once phase 1a is complete, Oak Park will progress into phase 1b, when people over 65 years old can receive the vaccine. Phase 1b also includes grocery store employees and teachers. Planning for the subsequent phase is already underway, according to Powers, and is expected to happen soon. How many vaccinations will be available and how quickly they can be administered remains to be seen.

“As we prepare to expand our efforts to vaccinate the broader community, the timing will depend first on vaccinating those eligible in the initial phase, but ultimately on the availability of vaccine,” said Interim Public Health Director Joseph Terry in the village’s news release.

Oak Park and River Forest veterans aged 65 and over can receive the COVID-19 vaccine sooner through Hines VA Hospital located in Maywood. To qualify to receive the vaccine, veterans must be enrolled in healthcare through Hines or one of its six outpatient centers. 

The hospital is open seven days a week for appointments. In addition to veterans over 65 years old, Hines is administering COVID-19 vaccinations to dialysis and chemotherapy patients, organ transplant veterans and homeless veteran program participants, among others. 

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