Drive-thru vaccination site opens Tuesday in Lake County

Lake County on Tuesday will open its first mass vaccination site, administering COVID-19 shots to hundreds of people each day.

The Lake County Fairgrounds has a massive indoor facility that will serve as a mass vaccination site perfect for Chicagoland's winter months. People can pull their cars inside to get vaccinated -- dozens at a time.

"There'll be about 40 vehicles in the building at a time," said organizer Shannon Dunn. "But we're ready for it!"

Available is 65,000 square feet of indoor space, which is an ideal spot for a drive-in / drive-out vaccination site during the winter season.

"Our goal is to try to operate this facility 7 days a week, 8 or more hours per day," said Mark Pfister of the Lake County Health Department.

That should amount to a big speed increase to over the current 400 doses per day at the county's Waukegan site.

"The purpose is: to expand our ability to provide more vaccines over longer periods on more days," Pfister said.

Starting Tuesday, healthcare workers who live or work in Lake County can schedule appointments. County health officials hope to be offering appointments within three weeks to everyone over the age of 65 and others who qualify for the vaccine under phase "1B."

"Right now, we're getting enough to do what we need to do. But as we get more locations on board, we need to see that supply increase," Pfister said.

He says the fairgrounds is one of many vaccination sites about to open, with the others being at pharmacies, hospitals, school districts and workplaces.

"The more vaccine we have, the more providers we have, the faster this will go," Pfister said.

Right now, the new site is by appointment only for people in Phase 1A (healthcare professionals.)

However, health officials urge people who qualify for Phase 1B to get registered online to be notified when it is their turn to make an appointment. You can find that link on the website of the Lake County Health Department.