Hospitals and health departments statewide have officially received their first full COVID-19 vaccine shipments, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday.
"I’m pleased to say that all shipments arrived safely and securely at their destinations over the course of the last two days," Pritzker said in his daily coronavirus briefing.
Pritzker said that on Monday, the state of Illinois, aside from Chicago, received the first 43,000 doses of the vaccine, which is approximately half of the total allotment.
After arriving in the Illinois Strategic National Stockpile, the vaccine doses were then sent to Regional Hospital Coordinating Centers and then delivered to area hospitals by local health departments, according to state officials.
"Doses were delivered first to our Regional Hospital Coordinating Centers and also direct to DuPage County, then on to 45 counties and local health departments, finally, arriving at 77 hospitals all across the state," Pritzker said.
As of Thursday morning, the Illinois governor said about 3,500 vaccinations had been given to healthcare workers throughout the state with more scheduled into the weekend.
In Cook County, 41,000 additional doses of the vaccine arrived Thursday to the county's Department of Public Health, as well as to the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center; Madison County Health Department; and St. Clair County Health Department.
"It is truly exciting to see these healthcare workers, our heroes on the front lines of this pandemic, who have put themselves at risk every day to save lives, begin to receive their vaccines," Pritzker said.
For a full list of which Illinois hospitals outside of Chicago received doses of the vaccine, click here.
Pritzker said that state and local health officials are preparing for smaller shipments of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine in coming weeks, as federal officials have informed states that the original shipments of the treatment will be roughly cut in half.
Originally, an estimated 8.8 million coronavirus vaccine doses were set to be delivered to cities and states across the U.S., but that estimate has been cut in half for each of the next two weeks, Pritzker said.
“Per the direction of Operation Warp Speed’s General Perna, that estimate was tightened significantly down to 4.3 million doses shipped nationally next week. The following week, originally projected for another 8.8 million, is also now also scheduled to be 4.3 million,” Pritzker said.
As a result, the governor said that the move to cut the shipments in half will likely mean that the state and the city of Chicago will also see their own shipments halved as they begin the process of inoculating health care workers.