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COVID-19 Chicago: Mayor Lori Lightfoot outlines coronavirus vaccine distribution plans

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CHICAGO (WLS) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot outlined Chicago’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan Wednesday pending the FDA’s overview of the vaccine.

“Our singular goal is for every Chicagoan, every Chicagoan, to have safe and easy access to the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible, and I want to emphasize, folks, at no charge,” Mayor Lightfoot stated.

WATCH: Mayor Lightfoot discusses Chicago vaccine plans

The first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines have been administered within the United Kingdom Tuesday. In the U.S., the FDA has not but authorized a COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer’s is up for overview on Thursday.

If Pfizer’s vaccine will get authorized, Mayor Lightfoot stated town may start administering it at 34 hospitals within the metropolis the week of December 14.

“Part of the reason we are doing all 34 of our hospitals at once, even though there’s only 23,000 doses, is that we want to make sure all the vaccine is being used,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady stated.

WATCH: Advocate Aurora Health’s Dr. Robert Citronberg discusses COVID-19 vaccine rollout

The metropolis expects to obtain about 23,000 vaccines within the preliminary batch with extra doses coming in subsequent weeks.

“The vaccine development represents a long-awaited milestone in Chicago’s – and the nation’s – fight against COVID-19, and we look forward to working with our citywide partners to ensure the distribution process is executed as efficiently and safely as possible through an equity lens,” stated Mayor Lightfoot. “However, as encouraged as we are by the COVID-19 vaccine, widespread community distribution is still months away, and we must remain diligent in adhering to the public health guidelines as we continue to move forward toward a brighter and more resilient future for all of us.”

Week two of the rollout will start the method of immunizing residents and workers on the metropolis’s 128 long run care services. From there, primarily based on federal steering, it will possible broaden to different essential staff, folks 65 and over and others with a number of power health situations.

There are about 400,000 health staff in Chicago, together with docs, nurses and workers. The metropolis plans to open up vaccination clinics for health care staff, working by appointment solely.

“The situation is very fluid as we don’t know how many we’ll be getting from week to week, and that will require us to be nimble in how we respond. But I have complete confidence in the team we have assembled to handle this,” Dr. Arwady stated. “Since the beginning of the pandemic we have been working with healthcare and community partners on plans to quickly distribute a large amount of the vaccine. This will allow Chicago to start with as much vaccine as possible and continually increase the supply in the weeks and months to follow.”

But how will folks know when it is their flip?

“We’re going to be doing a massive communications and messaging campaign to let people know essentially when they’re next up in the queue,” Mayor Lightfoot stated.

“There will be text messages. There will be advertisements. Lots to let people know as vaccine becomes available to them,” Dr. Arwady stated.

Officials say the plan will guarantee communities of colour – which the virus has disproportionately impacted – may have entry to the vaccine. The metropolis will make the most of metropolis schools as immunization facilities in addition to cellular websites to deliver the vaccine to the neighborhoods.

“As we roll this out, we do it as effectively as possible and keep the importance of equity at the center,” stated Helene Gayle, with Chicago Community Trust.

Officials say a part of that fairness focus consists of making certain workers at long run care services and hospital assist staff, lots of whom are Black and brown, are amongst these vaccinated early.

“Particularly in the Black community, we’ve had issues as it relates to equity in vaccines in the past,” stated Ald. Roderick Saywer, sixth Ward. “We want, we acknowledge that, and we want to make sure that science dictates what goes from this point forward.”

The metropolis says its objective is to have all grownup Chicagoans vaccinated in 2021 without charge to people. CDPH stated 1000’s of vaccine suppliers can be prepared as extra vaccines turn out to be obtainable.

The places embrace docs’ workplaces, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally certified health facilities and can be obtainable on the Vaccine Finder website.

WATCH: Chicago hospitals put together for vaccine arrival

Chicago-area hospitals are making plans for spherical one of many COVID-19 vaccine distribution, with out realizing how a lot they’ll get.

“We’ve been waiting now to hear what the allocations are going to be,” stated Dr. Michael Kelleher, chair of the Amita Health Vaccine Steering Committee. He stated the group exists to assist make the distribution course of as simple as doable, however determining who will get it is only one a part of a fancy plan.

“We’re putting together protocols as well as staff training,” stated Ali Ahmed, director of medical analysis at Loretto Hospital.

Amita Health officers stated these first in line can be “doctors, nurses and support staff who are directly taking care of patients with COVID-19.”

The University of Chicago Medical Center stated it plans to start vaccinating staff subsequent week. Hospital officers stated they anticipate greater than 1,900 doses within the first spherical. But there can be extra to hospital plans than simply the variety of doses.

“It’s not just how much are we going to get, but how are we going to get it?” Dr. Kelleher stated. “The Pfizer vaccine requires ultra-cold storage, which creates logistical difficulties with the distribution of it.”

While smaller hospitals, like Loretto within the metropolis’s Austin neighborhood, are working to ensure they get the identical attention as bigger medical teams.

RELATED: Doctors push plan to share hospital COVID-19 resources

“It’s critical that the vaccine is provided to the communities that are hardest hit and need it the most,” Ahmed stated.

While many hospitals are nonetheless working to craft their distribution plans, the one factor that is for certain is {that a} vaccine is on the best way.

“We are living through this now, it’s incredibly stressful time but I think now it’s a very exciting time because we can see some light at the end of the tunnel,” Dr. Kelleher stated.

Hospital officers are reminding everybody who is not going to be a part of this primary spherical of vaccines to not let their guard down and to proceed greatest health practices.

Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.



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