“This is the day we’ve been waiting for since the pandemic began. The vaccine brings new, tangible hope to DuPage County as we receive the first of many shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine,” said DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin.
“We have been preparing for months with our local health systems to distribute approved vaccines for emergency and critical care staff,” said Sam Tornatore, DuPage County Board of Health President. “This first delivery of vaccine is the result of tireless work from our public health officials, health systems, law enforcement, the state, and everyone who has helped achieve this historical event.”
Officials say 13,650 doses of the vaccine were received at a DuPage Medical Group (DMG) facility. DMG has partnered with DCHD to provide ultra-cold storage that meets the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
DCHD staff will be responsible for transporting the vaccines to all hospitals in DuPage County, including Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center GlenOaks, and AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center Hinsdale, Edward Hospital, Elmhurst Hospital, and Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital.
PHOTO CREDIT: DuPage County Health Department
“We’re honored to partner with the DCHD and DuPage County hospitals to safely and securely bring the COVID-19 vaccine to our communities,” said Donna Cooper, DMG Chief Operating Officer. “Several months ago, we proactively purchased the ultra-cold freezers needed to safely and securely store the Pfizer vaccine. As a result, we’re now able to store this initial vaccine supply for DuPage County. Following CDC guidance for vaccine prioritization, DMG has plans in place to safely vaccinate our physicians, associates and patients once additional supply becomes available.”
The first vaccine doses will be given to the priority groups of healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents.
DCHD officials anticipate it will take several weeks to reach the estimated 43,000 healthcare personnel in DuPage County. Long-term care facilities will receive vaccinations through a Federal program, called the Pharmacy Partnership Program.
"This life-saving vaccine will protect our healthcare workers who have selflessly dedicated themselves to care for and preserve the lives of their patients,” said DuPage County Executive Director Karen Ayala.
“We are confident that this vaccine will begin to provide some much-needed relief from COVID-19. However, until we receive enough vaccine for the general public, it is imperative that we each do our part in protecting our families, friends, and co-workers by wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, hand washing, and avoiding in-person gatherings. These preventive measures will be especially important to follow during the upcoming holidays,” said Ayala.
Health officials say additional doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive on a weekly basis from both Pfizer and a second manufacturer, Moderna, whose EUA application is currently under review by the FDA.
For additional information about the COVID-19 vaccine, DuPage County’s distribution plans, and to sign-up for weekly updates, visit www.dupagehealth.org/covid19vaccine.
Additional COVID-19 information and resources can be found at www.dupagehealth.org/covid19.