Going The Distance To Get A Vaccine

CBS 2's Marie Saavedra reports people from the Chicago area are traveling hundreds of miles, and across the state, to get a COVID vaccine because it's been challenging to receive a shot locally.

Video Transcript

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- Demand for vaccines in our biggest counties is huge and the frustration real.

- Enough for some to make a trip that's five hours by car. CBS 2's Marie Saavedra live at the United Center with why people feel it's still worth it to travel for their shots. Marie?

MARIE SAAVEDRA: Brad and Erica, part of that reason is because of places like here at the United Center. This was originally advertised as open to anyone living anyone in the state of Illinois as long as they were eligible. Then that changed. It's the city. It's specific zip codes. That back and forth has driven people mad. And I talked to some who say that it is worth it to them to make these long trips, one man as far as Quincy because he could.

DAN BEIDER: I've been pretty much hunting for a vaccine since before they were approved.

MARIE SAAVEDRA: Dan Beider of Glencoe has done his research and had a good idea of his vaccine plan going in.

DAN BEIDER: I actually was pretty committed to finding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. I wanted a one-shot vaccine.

MARIE SAAVEDRA: So he started scouring the internet for appointments, but found it impossible to book a J&J in Chicagoland. So he looked west, all the way to Quincy and the Adams County mass vaccination site, open to anyone in the state who's eligible.

DAN BEIDER: Lo and behold, they had basically every time slot every day open for appointments.

MARIE SAAVEDRA: Beider had the time and resources. So last Tuesday, he hopped on a plane, got the shot, and was back all in one day.

Adams County is a bright spot when it comes to vaccinations. Our data team at CBS 2 mapped numbers from the Illinois Department of Public Health and found that county is leading in the state percentage of its population already fully vaccinated. As of Wednesday, that's 27% of Adams County compared to just 13% of Cook County. Zoom out to the collar counties of Lake, Kane, and Will, and they're all at about 10% of residents fully vaccinated. So you can see why people who can travel for a shot would consider it.

KIRAN JOSHI: I say that as a public health physician it warms my heart that someone would want to be vaccinated that badly.

MARIE SAAVEDRA: Dr. Kiran Joshi with the Cook County Department of Public Health understands the desire to look elsewhere, but he's encouraging those in suburban Cook County to take heart that more shots are coming, and maybe soon enough the experience here will be as smooth as Beider's in Quincy.

DAN BEIDER: The entire appointment, once we walked in-- I want to say we were out of there in less than 25 minutes.

MARIE SAAVEDRA: You can find much more of the data we compiled at cbschicago.com/vaccinetracker. [? Brad? ?]