On Dec. 9, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced distribution plans for the COVID-19 vaccines when they become available.
There is a commitment to allocate initial doses to all 34 hospitals in the city and to ensure the individuals and communities most impacted by the pandemic are prioritized in the weeks and months to come. The first vaccines could be allocated the week of Dec. 14 in Chicago, pending final approval from federal regulators. Based on guidance from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), healthcare workers who treat COVID patients or conduct procedures that put them at high risk for COVID-19 spread will be the first to receive it.
"The vaccine development represents a long-awaited milestone in Chicago'sand the nation'sfight 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," said 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."
Pfizer and Moderna have now submitted data for an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA's independent advisory committee, the Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, is set to meet on Dec.10 to discuss Pfizer's request for emergency use authorization and Dec. 17 to discuss Moderna's request.
Following frontline healthcare workers, priority will be given to residents and staff at long-term care facilities, workers in essential and critical industries including emergency services personnel, people at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions, and people 65 years and older. CDPH expects to receive 23,000 doses in the initial batch and additional doses of the vaccine every subsequent week.
The goal is for all Chicago adults to be able to get vaccinated in 2021 at no cost to any individual. As more vaccines are available, several thousand vaccination providers will be ready, including doctors' offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.
The first COVID-19 vaccines will require two shots; the first shot starts building protection, but everyone will have to receive the second shot to receive maximum protection from the vaccine. Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines will be some of the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use. mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19, so they cannot give someone COVID-19.
Timeline estimates will change as more safety and effectiveness data from clinical trials is available and other types of vaccine are made available. Each COVID-19 vaccine that the FDA authorizes will have different instructions for shipping and storage. The City of Chicago will share updates on vaccine availability within Chicago at www.chicago.gov/COVIDvax. Also, the VaccineFinder website will be updated to help Chicagoans find the COVID vaccine. Vaccine information from the CDC can be found at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html.