Health & Hospitals Committee

Cook County Board of Commissioners


This is a remote assignment. It will be live-streamed at:

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Edited and summarized by the Chicago - IL Documenters Team

Note-taking by Erin Rusmi

COVID-19 vaccination rollout, Vaccination site selection, Contact tracing, Worker Protection Program

Live reporting by Eva Chen

COVID-19 vaccination rollout, Vaccination site selection, Contact tracing, Worker Protection Program

Hello! I’ll be live-tweeting today’s Cook County Health & Hospitals Committee meeting for #ChiDocumenters @ChiDocumenters. Today’s meeting will include discussion of COVID-19 immunization plans in suburban Cook County.

11:49 AM Mar 16, 2021 CDT

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@CHIdocumenters The meeting stream can be viewed here at 1pm:…
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@CHIdocumenters The Health & Hospitals committee is one of over 40 committees and subcommittees within the Cook County Board of Commissioners that oversees different issue areas. Learn more about the Board of Commissioners on their website:…
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@CHIdocumenters The Health & Hospitals committee is chaired by Commissioner Dennis Deer, with all 16 other Commissioners also serving as members of the committee.
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@CHIdocumenters To participate and speak in meetings, submit comments to the Board Secretary at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.…
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@CHIdocumenters Today’s meeting agenda can be viewed and downloaded here:…
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@CHIdocumenters The meeting is called to order at 1:02pm, with three commissioners absent. Quorum is met and the meeting proceeds.
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@CHIdocumenters Public comment from Edmund Kowalski, village trustee of Chicago Ridge. He states that the residents of Chicago Ridge are grossly underserved with regards to COVID-19 vaccinations, as there is not a distribution center nearby. He asks that a vaccination site be added nearby.
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@CHIdocumenters Last meeting's minutes are approved.
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@CHIdocumenters Commissioner Miller speaks on the COVID-19 mass immunization plan resolution, which requests a meeting with Cook County Department of Public Health (and other relevant parties) to provide a monthly report on immunization process.
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@CHIdocumenters Director Barnes of the Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security provides an update on the Cook County COVID-19 vaccination planning.
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@CHIdocumenters Director Barnes: "Equity needs to be a factor in selecting these locations."
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@CHIdocumenters Moving away from larger arenas and convention centers, as they tend to be extremely expensive. Some have also begun scheduling regular events, which have led to scheduling conflicts and inefficiency.
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@CHIdocumenters Preparing for larger sites allow for scaling down if necessary, but scaling up from smaller sites is more difficult. Big box stores can be great flexible options.
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@CHIdocumenters Some more information on site selection criteria:
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@CHIdocumenters Director Barnes emphasizes the importance of the ease of finding and accessing vaccination sites, both for those using navigation systems (e.g. Google Maps) and public transportation.
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@CHIdocumenters Some current vacination sites:
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@CHIdocumenters Director Barnes once again emphasizes equity, and the need to target areas with higher social vulnerability (the blue areas on the map)
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@CHIdocumenters Nanette Silva, program director at Community Memorial Foundation, provides public comment. Points to Berwyn, Bridgeview, Broadview, and Cicero, among others, as underserved areas with regards to COVID vaccination.
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@CHIdocumenters The committee moves back to its regular agenda, posing questions for Director Barnes.
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@CHIdocumenters Commissioner Aguilar thanks Nanette Silva for pointing out underserved communities, and confirms that many of these communities are predominantly Black and Latinx.
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@CHIdocumenters Commissioner Aguilar points to the need to orient vaccination efforts towards undocumented people, as the virus does not care whether you are a citizen. He proposes direct community outreach through churches or other organizations to encourage vaccination.
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@CHIdocumenters Commissioner Sean Morrisson suggests utilization of existing assets within townships in order to have local access to vaccination within suburbs.
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@CHIdocumenters Commissioner Anaya: Though there are still some misconceptions and hesitancies regarding the vaccine, a lack of access plays a greater role in preventing wider vaccinations. She emphasizes the importance of expanding access to and information on the vaccine.
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@CHIdocumenters Commissioner Miller: Equity discussions must also include the elderly and disabled, particularly with regards to transportation and access. Maybe through a partnership with Lyft in suburban areas?
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@CHIdocumenters Moving on to a vaccine strategy update from Dr. Kiran Joshi & Dr. Rachel Rubin of Cook County Department of Public Health, and CEO Israel Rocha Jr. of Cook County Health & Hospitals System.
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@CHIdocumenters Efficiency, equity, and geographic distribution are key factors being considered within the vaccination process.
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@CHIdocumenters With regards to equity, it is important to reduce barriers. This includes literacy, internet access, work, financial cost, language barriers, etc.
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@CHIdocumenters Mass vaccination sites are crucial; pointing to CCH Mega PODs (points of distribution)
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@CHIdocumenters Coverage of vaccine sites. Large diamonds are current sites, smaller diamonds are potential sites.
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@CHIdocumenters Vaccine registration information at or call the vaccine hotline at 1-8333-308-1988
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@CHIdocumenters Vaccine website is getting substantial traffic and usership. A record broken on March 12th with 2.7 million page views!
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@CHIdocumenters Vaccine supply is still a big challenge and does not yet meet demand.
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@CHIdocumenters Current data on vaccination for different age groups. Dr. Joshi speaks on how this data will help inform when to move from phase 1B to 1B+, which will include younger people with underlying conditions.
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@CHIdocumenters For organizations interested in hosting vaccination clinics, visit (NOTE: typo in slide)
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@CHIdocumenters Dr. Joshi discusses considerations when prioritizing communities for vaccination: the COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index & Social Vulnerability Index. In small writing, there is a list on the right of 30+ designated priority communities, highlighted in blue on the map.
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@CHIdocumenters Dr. Rubin now discusses the Contact Tracing Intiative Update, with good news that the initiative has a very substantial staff of contact tracers and case investigators, including 50 bilingual staff members.
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@CHIdocumenters Commissioner Miller asks about access to the different types of vaccines. Israel Rocha emphasizes access to information on the different vaccines and transparency with regards to labeling, but above all highlights the importance of distributing vaccines as quickly as possible.
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@CHIdocumenters Commissioner Miller asks about potentially targetting vaccine efforts towards black and brown communities, as vaccination at United Center has done. Rocha states the importance of addressing barriers and starting special programs to target those impacted most by COVID.
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@CHIdocumenters Israel Rocha: If someone doesn't get the vaccine, it's a risk for everyone. So we will be looking out for everyone.
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@CHIdocumenters With regards to schools adjusting 6-feet social distancing guidelines to a smaller 3-6 foot guideline, Dr. Rubin cites a study that suggests minimal difference in terms of COVID health and safety.
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@CHIdocumenters After some technical difficulties, the motion to defer the COVID-19 mass immunization plan resolution passes.
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@CHIdocumenters Dr. Rachel Rubin is providing the quarterly report of the Department of Public Health.
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@CHIdocumenters Dr. Rubin is speaking about different community partnerships to promote outreach and education regarding COVID safety guidelines and general support.
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@CHIdocumenters Customer protection initiatives are widespread, but not as much action being taken to protect workers. Dr. Rubin hopes that the SCC Worker Protection Program can support workers, help them understand their rights, and ensure their safety.
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@CHIdocumenters The Cook County Department of Public Health has received accreditation for another five years!
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@CHIdocumenters The meeting is adjourned at 3:08pm. Visit for more local meeting coverage.

Agency Information

Cook County Board of Commissioners

County Commissioners are elected officials who oversee county activities and work to ensure that citizen concerns are met, federal and state requirements are fulfilled, and county operations run smoothly. The Cook County Board of Commissioners is the governing board and legislative body of the county. It is comprised of 17 Commissioners, each serving a four-year term and is elected from single member districts. Each district represents approximately 300,000 residents. The Board also operates approximately 40 committees and subcommittees chaired by members of Board of Commissioners.

Remote meetings of the Cook County Board of Commissioners are live-streamed at

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