Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday that the federal government has committed to sending Illinois 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines per day later this month to increase supply as elected officials and residents alike have continued to express frustration over limited availability of vaccinations thus far.
That figure includes doses of the single-shot vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson, the third vaccine that the Food and Drug Administration approved for emergency use on Saturday, enabling shipments to begin this week.
Vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer - both requiring two doses given weeks apart - were approved in December and have since been in use in Illinois and across the U.S.
“As the weeks have progressed, we've seen increasing amounts of vaccine distributed by the manufacturers," Pritzker said at a news conference Monday.
"And with this third vaccine now in the lineup from J&J, and with public commitments from the White House to send an average of at least 100,000 doses per day to Illinois by mid-March, we are getting closer and closer to widespread availability that we all want," he continued.
A spokesman for the White House did not immediately respond to request for comment on Pritzker's remarks.
Chicago and Illinois - which receive their shipments from the federal government separately - are preparing for an estimated dose count of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine above 100,000 this week.
The Illinois Department of Public Health said roughly 22,000 doses were planned for Chicago and another 83,000 for the state, which will then distribute the doses to providers.
Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said the company was shipping 4 million doses Monday and plans to deliver about 16 million more doses by the end of March, 100 million shots by June and a billion by the end of the year.
Pritzker said Monday that Johnson & Johnson's doses will add about 20% to the supply of vaccine that the state is currently receiving by the end of March as he commiserated with those unable to get an appointment yet.
"This is a challenging time. I think all of us are frustrated, there is a shortage of vaccines and so that makes it difficult to even offer appointments in many places, let alone to actually make an appointment for yourself," Pritzker said.
"But I will say that with the increasing numbers of doses every week - and I've been very proud of our White House, frankly, they've done just a terrific job of increasing the dosage, they invoked the Defense Production Act like I asked, and that really has helped to open up the spigot of new vaccines - and then the J&J vaccine... It'll be more widely available as the weeks move on and so we just need to ask everybody continued patience," he added.
The added doses come just after Illinois moved into what it called Phase 1B Plus, which added people with high-risk medical conditions and comorbidities to the list of those eligible, which already including health care and essential workers as well as those over age 65.
Chicago and several surrounding counties chose not to expand Phase 1B along with the rest of the state, citing a shortage of doses.
Illinois health officials on Monday said that a total of 2,740,105 vaccine doses have been delivered to providers across the state, as well as 443,700 doses allocated to the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership Program for long-term care facilities, for a total of 3,183,805 doses.
Of those, 2,756,831 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of Sunday night, officials said, with the seven-day rolling average of daily vaccine doses administered standing at 77,876.