CHICAGO - State health officials originally thought they would be getting an initial shipment of roughly 400,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses, but on Tuesday we learned it's probably going to be only about a fifth of that.
“There won't be many doses. I know I had originally quoted 400,000 doses. That number has been downgraded to something like 80,000,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
State health officials say they have been working on vaccine distribution plans since April, which include logistics.
“We have freezer trucks that are going to be able to hold that vaccine that we know has to be held at that special low temperature,” Ezike said, which is setting priority for who gets the first batch -- hospital workers and the National Guard.
“Individuals who are on the front lines in terms of working directly with COVID patients who are in the face of COVID every day,” Ezike said.
In addition, hospitals must be signed up to provide the vaccine to the public.
“We're getting closer. The CDC's helping. The FDA will no doubt have its advisory as well. And we'll be ready to go,” said Gov. JB Pritzker.
But COVID continues to surge, with more than 9,000 Illinoisans testing positive over the last day, 125 new deaths, and more than 6,000 people right now hospitalized.
“If you are planning to travel right now, I urge you to rethink that,” Pritzker said with two days to go until Thanksgiving. “Wear your masks and keep some distance. I believe it's the only year you're going to have to do this.”
On Tuesday, Illinois crossed the 10 million mark for number of COVID tests given. One sign things may have leveled off is that the state was under 10,000 new cases for the second day in a row.