First shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arrives in Illinois

An illustration picture shows vials with Covid-19 Vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of US pharmaceutical company Pfizer, on November 17, 2020. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Illinois received about 43,000 doses in its first shipment of a COVID-19 vaccine Monday as health officials reported another 103 coronavirus deaths statewide.

Most of the shots will be distributed to local health care centers for health care workers, according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office.

The news came as health care workers nationwide started getting the first shots of the vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech.

Pritzker has previously said he expects Illinois to receive about 109,000 doses within weeks. Chicago officials expect about 20,000 to 25,000 of those doses to arrive in the city.

“Eleven months after scientists the world over first got their hands on the genetic sequence of this virus and we are seeing the beginning of the end of this pandemic,” Pritzker said in a statement calling it a ”momentous occasion.”

Illinois reported another 7,214 COVID-19 cases Monday. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Illinois has reported more than 850,000 cases. Nearly 14,400 people have died.

In Chicago’s Cook County suburbs, health officials expect about 20,000 doses this week for 15 hospitals, Dr. Kiran Joshi, who heads the Cook County Department of Public Health, said during a Monday news conference.