Within the first full week of vaccinations, Illinois has administered the most COVID-19 vaccine doses compared to any other state nationwide, officials announced Wednesday.
In a coronavirus briefing, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Illinois, including Chicago, has administered 100,991 vaccine doses as of Tuesday night, which is the most of any state across the U.S.
"By sheer population, California is three times our size and Texas is two and a half times our size, so they will outpace us in sheer numbers at some point this week," Pritzker said. "But the vaccine team in Illinois sprinted past them all in week one."
This week alone, Pritzker said Illinois has so far received 23,400 Pfizer vaccine doses outside of Chicago, 15,600 Pfizer doses to the City of Chicago and 37,050 Pfizer doses set aside for long term care vaccinations next week. In addition, the state will receive 174,000 Moderna vaccine doses outside of Chicago and 48,000 doses going directly to the city.
Last week, Pritzker expressed concern about reduced shipments of the Pfizer vaccine, saying that the state had been informed the federal government was anticipating a reduction of nearly 50% in the number of doses it was able to deliver to states in the following two weeks.
Army General Gustave Perna, the COO of Operation Warp Speed, said officials were working hard to provide accurate numbers to states, but that he was forced to lower allocations of the vaccine because of limits in the amount of “releasable doses."
During a coronavirus briefing Tuesday, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the initial groups will likely take through mid-February to vaccinate. She added that, for some, they will only have received the first dose of the two before the city begins vaccinating other populations.
"So while we are in Phase 1A, which again, is December, January, February, the focus is on health care workers and long term care facility residents," Arwady said. "We will be starting to stand up like I mentioned some of these larger points of dispensing, to be able to make sure that all healthcare workers are able to be vaccinated."
Arwady said the city will put up its first mass vaccination site next week, which will allow for health care workers to be more rapidly vaccinated.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who visited Illinois Tuesday to examine the state's vaccine rollout, said he hopes to have half the adult population nationwide vaccinated by the end of February.
Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health care workers and long term care facility residents are in the 1A group, or of the first people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine statewide.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health website, the following groups of individuals will be prioritized in the initial phases of the vaccine rollout:
- Health care personnel and residents of long term care facilities
- Essential frontline workers, including first responders
- People with high risk medical conditions, as well as adults over 65 years of age
Based on information from an Advisory Committee Immunization Practices meeting Sunday, first responders, essential workers and individuals between the ages of 16 and 64 with high-risk medical conditions could be next to receive the vaccine.
Any recommendations made by the ACIP must then be passed to the CDC for approval and official recommendations. As of Tuesday, the CDC has not officially said the order in which all vaccinations will occur, nor the timing.