State health officials in Illinois are prepping for the arrival of the first shipments of COVID-19 vaccines, despite mixed signals from federal officials.
During the daily pandemic briefing yesterday (December 8), Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker told reporters that he’s been told the first doses will arrive the “week of December 13 to the 19th.”
He cautioned that federal officials at the CDC have been unclear about an exact delivery date.
Still, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, is still preparing for the vaccine’s arrival.
“We are expecting the vaccine next week,” she told NBC 5 Chicago. “And we’re expecting vaccine doses to arrive every week thereafter. We may be looking at just Pfizer initially, but then we hope that other vaccines will be coming shortly after that.”
Vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are currently under evaluation for emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration.
If approved, Pritzker said the state should be receiving 100,000 doses in the first shipment, but that number has changed, which has been a challenge for state health officials who are preparing for the rollout.
Ezike said to get the vaccine to Illinois citizens, “people will go to their doctor’s offices. Mass vaccination drives will be held. Some in churches, pharmacies, local health departments,” she said, adding, “There will be myriad opportunities to get the vaccine. We want some drive-thru vaccination efforts too. Those will continue to ramp up as it becomes widely available to the public.”
With the impending vaccine authorizations expected to come through later this week, the CDC released recommendations to give priority to healthcare workers followed by nursing home residents, and those who have comorbidities and are at higher risk for having severe complications from the virus.
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