Illinois will receive 109,000 initial doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine following the vaccine's approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Friday.
States learned only this week how many doses to expect and when, and received guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending that health care workers and nursing home patients get the first doses.
Previously, Illinois officials were told the state would receive approximately 400,000 doses of the vaccine, said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Adhering to CDC recommendations, Pritzker emphasized Friday that Illinois will first vaccinate the state's 650,000 front line health care workers and 110,000 adults who live in settings such as long-term care facilities and nursing homes.
The vaccine will first be distributed to health care workers in the 50 counties with the highest death rates per capita, according to state officials.
If the Pfizer vaccine receives federal approval on Dec. 10, the date of a key CDC meeting, Pritzker said, Illinois is set to see the 109,000 doses "sometime during the week after next."
A total of 23,000 doses would be given directly to the city of Chicago while the remaining 86,000 would be distributed to communities across Illinois.
Chicago, and other major cities such as New York and Los Angeles, will receive direct supplies of the vaccine.
"There will be shipments of more and more vaccines each week following that first shipment’s arrival," Pritzker said. "So although the numbers now may seem small relative to our population, those numbers will increase over the subsequent weeks and months."
It will take weeks to months before many of the nation’s most vulnerable residents can be immunized, White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Thursday. Until then, Americans should not hold indoor gatherings with people they don’t live with or take off their masks when they’re outdoors, and should continue to keep their distance from others and wash their hands, she said.
Pfizer is still seeking emergency use approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The pharmaceutical giant completed its phase three trial and found the vaccine to be 95% percent.