Demand of COVID-19 vaccines increases, CU on track to achieve herd immunity


Cameron Krasucki

A COVID-19 testing employee checks in a patient at the Church of the Living God on Feb. 20. Champaign-Urbana area Walgreens have been vaccinating community members to the point where C-U is on track to achieve herd immunity.

By Aliza Majid, Assistant News Editor

As COVID-19 vaccine eligibility widens its range, many individuals wait for appointments to become available as the demand for vaccines rises.
According to Walgreens, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded vaccine eligibility to teachers and childcare works along with the current groups. These newly eligible individuals should receive their first shot by the end of March.
“Walgreens is providing a limited number of vaccines per week,” said Awais Vaid, deputy administrator of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District. “This combined with the current allocation for the County is still not enough to meet the demand. But we are expecting allocations to increase in the coming weeks, and we will be able to meet the demand.”
Walgreens has recently begun administering the COVID-19 vaccine at their locations with appointment applications available on their website. Many individuals took advantage of that opportunity as the CUPHD ran low on appointments.
“There wasn’t any availability through the University, and I’ve been checking for a few weeks now because I have asthma,” said Scott Jung, freshman in LAS. “Once I started being eligible, I started checking (through Walgreens) and this was the first one that I was able to sign up for.”
In order to receive appointments from Walgreens, individuals will have to create an account and submit a form that will provide a list of locations nearby that have available appointments for those eligible.
According to Vaid, Walgreens has also been recently allocated a small supply of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines earlier this month, and the CUPHD should receive a supply later this week.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration on Feb. 27 and has been supplied to various groups throughout the country.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has overall similar results with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, other than the fact that it is a one-dose vaccine.
“All vaccines currently approved for administration in the U.S. are very effective in preventing serious complications, hospitalization and death,” Vaid said. “A one-dose vaccine is much more convenient for many. It offers immunity much quicker than the two-dose vaccines.”
Overall, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available to the public as supply continues to be delivered to various groups along with the two other vaccines. Individuals can go to the Walgreens website or the CUPHD website to check future availability and appointments.
“Almost a quarter of the County population is completely vaccinated at this time,” Vaid said. “We are well-positioned to achieve herd immunity if everyone gets a vaccine when it is available and it is their turn.

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