Illinois could receive first doses of COVID vaccine early next week

Doctors say it is possible Illinois could receive its first doses of the coronavirus vaccine as soon as early next week.

Dr. Shikha Jain with the University of Illinois at Chicago says the first shots will be given to healthcare workers and those who live and work at long-term care facilities.

“What our local leaders have been told is that we are anticipated to get 109,000 vaccines in the first ‘wave’ of vaccines that we receive,” Dr. Jain said. “As a physician I would recommend that unless you have a direct medial contraindication, if it is approved by the FDA, that you get vaccinated.”

While Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said on Thursday it will take “many months” for the vaccine to be widely available, she did address how mass vaccinations could work.

“Mass vaccination drives in parking lots, in malls, you know, we're going to use our community based testing sites,” Dr. Ezike said.

So, how could people who have already had COVID-19 fit into the vaccine distribution plan?

“They did stipulate in ACIP guidelines that people who have had COVID within the last 90 days should hold back and let others get the vaccine because we think within that 90 days you can't get COVID again,” Dr. Ezike said.


Meanwhile, United Cargo has said it is ready to support vaccine distribution with the ability to carry more than a million doses on a single aircraft.

“Illinois has made the promise that they want to get it out to all individuals by the end of 2021, but because it depends really on the supply that we're able to get it and depends on the transportation of the vaccine, but mostly it depends on getting the numbers produced and then getting them disseminated,” Dr. Jain said.

The vaccine recommendation comes on a day when state health officials reported more than 11,000 new cases and 196 additional deaths –- the third highest since the start of the pandemic.