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Vaccine site for first responders, school staff opens at New Trier High School

Wednesday, March 03, 2021
Daily Herald
by Joe Lewnard

Vaccine site for first responders, school staff opens at New Trier High School

  •  

A pilot site for first responders and other essential workers to get COVID-19 vaccinations has now opened at the New Trier High School gymnasium in Northfield.

The site, announced by Mutual Aid Box Alarm System Division 3 and the Cook County Department of Public Health Wednesday, will enable critical municipal employees such as firefighters, police officers and 911 dispatch personnel included in Phase 1B to be vaccinated by paramedics, the according to a news release from the health department.

Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton of Glenview said the opening of the site is the fulfillment of a dream: Providing a location for first responders, teachers and others to receive the vaccine.

"In order to do their jobs safely, they must be vaccinated," Britton said.

Dr. Kiran Joshi, the health department's senior medical officer and colead, spoke of the goal to vaccinate the 2.5 million people living in suburban Cook County, adding that first responders being vaccinated may help alleviate any fears that some might have about the vaccines.

"We also know that many who are hesitant are willing to get vaccinated if they see others safely receiving their doses, " Joshi said. "As if first responders and teachers weren't our heroes already, they are playing a critical leadership role at this site by demonstrating the safety of these vaccines."

According to the county's Thomas McFeeley, 571 people were vaccinated at the site Wednesday, and their second dose is scheduled for March 17. Others vaccinated were teachers and school staff members, plus employees from the communities covered by MABAS Division 3, comprising 17 fire departments, including Des Plaines, Prospect Heights, Glenview, Northbrook and other North Shore towns.

Progress is being made to ensure the equitable distribution of the vaccines, said Israel Rocha Jr., chief executive officer for Cook County Health.

"We still do not have enough vaccine available for every person in Phase 1A and 1B," Rocha said. "But significant progress is being made to ensure that everyone who wants to be vaccinated will get it."



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