The very first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in Illinois will be dedicated to healthcare workers in the 50 counties with the highest per capita death rates, Governor JB Pritzker said on Friday.
Many states reported record infections, hospitalizations and deaths on Friday, the deadline for states to submit requests for doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Plans for the vaccine are being rolled out as the growing pandemic invades US hospitals and leaves nurses and other medical workers outnumbered and exhausted.
In line with recommendations from health officials, Pritzker said Illinois’ initial focus will be on the state’s 655,000 frontline healthcare workers and 110,000 adults who live in collective facilities, such as facilities. long-term care and assisted living facilities.
However, he said, it will take several weeks for healthcare workers to receive their first two doses of the vaccine.
“… It won’t be a quick process,” Pritzker said. “With the two-dose schedule, no one will even be fully vaccinated before Christmas, and it will likely be months before people at low risk of COVID-19 see their first dose.”
Major cities, such as Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, the governor said, will each receive a separate and direct supply of the vaccine.
In addition to a review by the United States Food and Drug Administration, states such as Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, and Michigan have established independent review boards.
Pfizer is still seeking emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration. The pharmaceutical giant has completed its phase three trial and found the vaccine to be at 95%.
If the Pfizer vaccine receives federal approval on Dec. 10, Pritzker said, Illinois is expected to receive 109,000 doses of the vaccine “within a week.” Of the 109,000 doses, 23,000 would be directly attributed to the city of Chicago.
Dr Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, revealed Illinois officials have been told the state will initially receive around 400,000 doses of the vaccine, but the number has been reduced to 109 000.
The first shipment of vaccines, Ezike said, will be received directly by the IDPH and then sent to the 50 counties with the highest per capita death rates.
The doses will be transported to the state’s 10 regional hospital coordination centers, which will serve as distribution sites for local health services.
In a federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens, pharmacies will directly vaccinate residents of long-term care facilities statewide.
As Illinois and the country wait for the vaccine on Friday, Ezike reiterated his calls for Illinois residents to wash their hands, distance themselves and wear headgear.
“Each day that passes brings us closer to normalcy,” said the doctor. “It’s a bit of a cliché. Of course it’s the truth. But that day will come sooner as we continue to maintain our mitigation efforts.”