coronavirus chicago

Watch Live: Lightfoot, Chicago's Top Doctor to Give Update on COVID-19 Vaccination Effort

Note: The news conference can be watched live in the video player above beginning at around 9:30 a.m. CST.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the city's top doctor are set to deliver an update on COVID-19 vaccinations Tuesday morning, days after the mayor criticized the federal rollout.

Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady are scheduled to speak at a news conference at 9:30 a.m. at Norwegian American Hospital.

The news conference can be watched live in the video player above.

As of Monday, the most recent date for which Chicago officials have shared vaccination data, a total of 33,607 doses of the vaccine had been administered citywide. Both vaccines approved for emergency use by federal regulators require two doses week apart to reach maximum effectiveness.

Over the weekend, Lightfoot criticized the federal government for the vaccine rollout, saying that it could take more than a year to administer the vaccine to all city residents at the current pace of dose shipments.

In a social media post Saturday, Lightfoot said that the city’s health department has administered more than 95% of the vaccine doses it has received so far from the federal government.

In the tweet, Lightfoot said that at the current rate of dose allocation, it would take 71 weeks to fully vaccinate all city residents.

“We need more vaccine. Now,” she said.

As of New Year’s Eve, 143,924 Illinois residents had received the COVID vaccine, according to a spokeswoman for Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Those numbers come amid growing fears that the vaccine’s slow rollout could prolong the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. According to a recent study by NBC News, the federal government would need to vaccinate 3 million people per day in order to achieve its goal of 80% of the population being vaccinated by late June.

As of late December, only 2 million people had received the first dose, and at that pace, it would take 10 years to achieve the 80% vaccination threshold.  

The city of Chicago launched its first appointment-only mass COVID-19 vaccination site for health care workers last week at Malcolm X College, one of eight that will be opened in partnership with City Colleges of Chicago.

Prior to last week, the city had been vaccinating mostly hospital employees as well as a small amount of emergency medical services personnel in the very first portion of the first phase of vaccination.

Those doses of the vaccine had largely been administered by hospitals themselves who received shipments directly.

But the site opened Tuesday is for health care workers who are "less likely to be connected to a larger clinic that will be more likely to get direct vaccine," Arwady said, stressing again that vaccinations at city sites are by appointment only.

"I'm sorry, you can't show up and try to get in line to get a vaccine," Arwady said. "At this point, while the vaccine is still limited in Chicago, we're in phase 1A, meaning that vaccine is only available at this point for health care workers and then for long-term care facility residents."

Health officials have said phase 1A of the city's vaccination plan could potentially last through February before expanding to frontline essential workers and residents over the age of 75 in phase 1B.

Arwady said last week that while it may seem like a long time to wait - stressing the need to continue social distancing, wearing masks and following public health guidelines - the vaccinations and opening of the new city sites meant Chicago is moving forward.

"Please know that we are working to roll this vaccine out as fast and as safely as we possibly can: making sure that all the training is done, that all of the logistics are in place to ensure that the vaccine is kept cold, that all of the registration is there," she said.

"We're working hard, we're rolling up quickly, but I know it's hard to feel like you still have to wait. I think there may also be a little bit of a wait before we fully begin to regain our confidence. There may be a wait before this new normal really feels normal," Arwady continued. "But with this beginning of vaccination in Chicago, we are no longer fully waiting as a city. We are on this path, we are moving forward. And I'm really pleased about it."

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