coronavirus vaccine

Health Officials Recommend Work Forces Stagger Employee Vaccinations, When Available

Side effects of the vaccine could cause people to take a day or two off of work

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Illinois health officials recommended Monday that work forces stagger employee coronavirus vaccinations once available to the general public.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said based on the side effects of malaise, employers should stagger the time in which workers will receive the COVID-19 vaccine to account for potential time off.

Because healthcare workers and people at long-term care facilities are the first to receive the vaccine in the U.S., Ezike specifically mentioned that hospitals should consider how many people in particular units get vaccinated at one time.

"So maybe you wouldn't take everybody on your COVID floor and do them all at that same time," Ezike said. "In case you had a significant number of people that do need to take a day off, that you wouldn't be without a workforce."

Ezike added that staggering vaccinations in hospitals is also necessary in order for doctors and nurses to continue to treat patients with and without the coronavirus in a timely manner.

Several cities across the country administered their first doses of the coronavirus vaccine Monday, but while Illinois did receive its first shipments, the state and its largest city have yet to start vaccinations.

According to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, one reason for the state's delay is because the shipment needed to be divided into 96 separate deliveries.

"There were shipments made directly to certain hospitals by the federal government that arrived in your typical large cities, and then there were shipments that were made to the states to distribute among, in our case, 96 public health departments all across the state, excluding Chicago, which got a direct shipment," Pritzker said Monday. "So that's one of the reasons that you see a difference in arrival times and shipment times- that we have to receive it here and split it up into 96 different packages to go to those public health departments."

Pritzker cited the state's size among the reason the deliveries might take longer to reach residents.

"I think that's one of the reasons you hear everybody saying, you know, 'have patience,' is that this is going to take a little while because in Illinois, in particular, because we have a very large state and 96 local public health departments in many hospitals, just takes a little longer than it does to go to a big city, for example," Pritzker said.

Illinois and Chicago will both administer the first doses of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday, state and city officials said.

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