Illinois Leaders Offer More Detailed COVID Vaccine Plan
Governor J-B Pritzker provided more details Friday on Illinois' vaccine distribution plan.
Pritzker says the first round will go to healthcare workers and long-term care residents, known as Phase 1A.
"The goal here is to fortify the healthcare workforce by removing these most exposed workers from the cycle of quarantine, illness and infection as well as protecting our most vulnerable residents."
Pritzker says in Illinois, there are 655,000 people who qualify as frontline healthcare workers.
"That breaks down to about 162,000 in Chicago and 493,000 outside of Chicago."
The governor says he made that distinction because the federal government will deliver separate direct supplies of the vaccine to large cities. He says there are almost 110,000 Illinoisans living in congregate settings, such as long-term care facilities and assisted living residences.
Illinois expects to receive 109,000 doses of vaccine in the first round with additional supplies delivered each week for many months until everyone has a chance to get vaccinated.
Vaccine distribution will initially be directed to hospitals and healthcare workers in the 50 counties with the highest death rate per capita from COVID-19.
IDPH director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says the vaccine supply will get distributed through ten Regional Hospital Coordinating Centers. In southern Illinois, Memorial Hospital of Carbondale will serve as the regional hub. It will receive just under 3,000 doses in the opening round.
"Our local health department partners will then work with the hospitals in their area to identify the high risk and critical healthcare workers for the initial vaccine admnistration. Also, there is a federal partnership with both CVS and Walgreens pharmacies to directly vaccinate residents of the long-term care facilities."
Ezike says all but five Illinois long-term care facilities have registered to participate in the process so far.
During the vaccine trials, some volunteers spoke of pretty strong side effects. Ezike says she's heard 10 to 15 percent of people have a significant reaction that can last up to 24 hours. She says they have to plan for that when distributing the vaccine to healthcare workers.
"So, that we don't have a situation where a bunch of people that we need to be in the hospital all need to take a day off subsequent to that vaccine."
Ezike says she hopes to get more information next week about the side effects as Pfizer's vaccine seeks FDA approval.