Several West Central Illinois counties have been returning allocations of their COVID-19 vaccines to the state. Governor’s Office spokesperson Jordan Abudayeh told Capitol Fax on Friday that vaccine demand has started to shift in various regions of the state, local health departments have begun requesting fewer doses or skipped ordering their allocation altogether.
Abudayeh says when that occurs, the Illinois Department of Public Health reassigns those doses mass vaccine sites in areas where demand is higher, like Cook and the collar counties. Beginning this week, the local health department first dose allocations distributed to local health departments will be based on demand identified by the local health department instead of population. This shift in policy aims to address remaining inventory some local health departments have, while also directing doses to areas where demand exceeds current allocations.
All redirected dose either get put back in the overall state pot and are distributed the next week to the larger demand counties. According to data in the Governor’s Office based on just the Moderna vaccine, Pike County has been returning doses since March 15th. Brown and Scott began returning doses on March 22nd. Cass did the week of March 29th and April 12th. Greene returned doses on April 5th and April 12th. Morgan began returning doses on April 5th, and Schuyler returned doses last week.
Bloomberg News reports that some data indicates that as many as one in three doses are unused in some states. Epidemiologists say that 75% of the nation’s population must be inoculated before COVID-19 can be contained.