With approval nearing on a coronavirus vaccine, Illinois health officials are working to provide information to residents skeptical of the treatment, saying that only robust administration of the vaccine will work to help end the pandemic.
During a daily coronavirus press briefing Tuesday, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said that her department will work to spread “real facts” and to help dispel misinformation that has been going around social media about the vaccine.
“We just need to get to the real facts, and then let people make their best decisions for themselves and their families,” she said. “We want them to understand the risk-benefit ratio of the decisions that they might be contemplating.”
Health officials say that information from companies that have helped to produce the vaccine will go a long way toward achieving that goal, but that the approval process within the Food and Drug Administration will also unearth other key data points about the treatment in order to help provide a full picture of the risks involved with the treatment.
Ezike also promised the state would work to address what she called “resistance within Black and Brown communities” to the vaccine, and while she says that there are “valid reasons” why that skepticism exists, she says that she will work with various groups to ensure that residents will feel safe getting the treatment.
“I’ll be working with the Chicago Urban League, churches across the state, and we’ll be working with many different groups that have in-roads into these communities so that we can give the appropriate information, and so that we can answer questions and dispel the things that are clear myths,” she said.
The state anticipates that it will receive more than 100,000 doses of the Pfizer-developed vaccine when it gets its expected approval for emergency use through the FDA. The state also hopes to get hundreds of thousands of doses of Moderna’s COVID vaccine, which is also going through approval processes.
Ezike says that the state will prepare to receive more doses of the vaccine as they become available, with distribution controlled by local health departments in consultation with the IDPH.