New Trier High School COVID-19 vaccine site to deliver shots for local educators, first responders starting this week
By Karen Ann Cullotta
A new COVID-19 vaccine site staffed by area fire departments at New Trier High School will begin delivering shots to local educators and first responders this week, officials announced.
The new partnership forged by Cook County Department of Public Health and the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System Division 3, which includes 17 north and northwest suburban fire departments, is slated to kickoff Wednesday at New Trier’s Northfield campus, Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton, 14th District, said.
The plan to create a COVID-19 vaccine site to immunize area teachers and first responders was recently proposed by MABAS Division 3 officials, who said the EMTs were qualified to deliver the shots, and eager to help, Britton said.
“They told us, our (emergency medical technicians) are already on the front lines, and are very qualified to deliver vaccines, so let’s use them,” Britton said.
The logistics of when the vaccines will be scheduled are still in flux, but appointments will likely be handled by school districts and other public agencies on behalf of their employees, Britton.
While the EMTs staffing the New Trier vaccine site at 7 Happ Road will provide vaccines solely to educators and first responders, Britton said MABAS officials are also considering a potential plan to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to area senior citizens who are homebound.
“We’re hearing from a lot of elderly residents who can’t get to the county vaccine sites easily, and who would be comfortable with a firefighter or paramedic visiting their home, so this is our next goal,” Britton said.
The suburban firefighters have also expressed an interest in volunteering their services beyond the suburbs by possibly assisting residents of underserved communities on Chicago’s South and West sides, Britton said.
“One of the fire chiefs I talked to said, ‘We’re at war, and we have an entire army we can send where needed,’” Britton said, adding: “This is still a huge challenge, because of the limited amount of vaccine that is available.”
Last week, a spokeswoman for Cook County Health said officials were looking forward to partnering with agencies and organizations to open targeted vaccine sites in Cook County.
All expenses related to the establishment and operation of the vaccine site at New Trier will be paid for, “in whole or in part by Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding,” according to public records.
The county health department will be responsible for the oversight of all clinical activities at the vaccine site, and will provide the furniture, supplies, medication and equipment needed.
The proposal to use New Trier’s Northfield campus as a COVID-19 vaccine site was unanimously approved by the school board last week.