CHICAGO - The first COVID vaccines will be administered in the Chicago area and in downstate Illinois on Tuesday.
Governor JB Pritzker will be on hand at the St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria at 11 AM when the first ceremonial shot is given.
The state is expected to receive 109,000 doses initially. On Monday, 43,000 shots were shipped to the state, with the rest coming later this week.
The governor says this is a much anticipated moment during the pandemic.
“We are seeing the beginning of the end of the pandemic,” Pritzker said.
The governor was present to witness the state's first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine, arriving under constant surveillance at an undisclosed location.
“This is history in the making,” he said.
The vaccine will be sent to ten hospitals statewide and distributed to health departments from there.
“There is only a limited number of doses for right now. We will be following recommendations,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.
That means frontline healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients are first in line.
“The excitement throughout the organization is very, very high. We finally are going to be able to do something to fight back,” said Edward-Elmhurst Health CEO Mary Lou Mastro.
She expects to receive 3,900 doses and will begin vaccinating employees Tuesday at noon at both campuses in Naperville and Elmhurst.
“Given the fact that there are symptoms associated with the vaccine, staggering over a period of time makes sense as well. We certainly don't want everyone being symptomatic at the same time,” Mastro said.
She says they have a goal of vaccinating 10,000 employees in their health system.
“The vaccines are safe, and I think the fact that we had 3,900 healthcare workers within five hours sign up to take the vaccine, there's probably a testament to how we feel about the safety of the vaccine,” Mastro said.
The FDA is also reviewing the next vaccine this week, which is the Moderna vaccine. Governor Pritzker says if approved, that could be shipped to the state sometime this month.
As for when the governor will be vaccinated, he says when it is his turn in the recommended CDC phases.