Several Chicago-area hospitals will receive additional COVID vaccine doses from the state as part of a new pilot program aimed at increasing equitable distribution, officials announced.
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced a new partnership with four local "federally qualified health centers and safety net hospitals" to get vaccines to residents in Cook, DuPage, and Lake Counties.
Under the program, the hospitals will receive between 300 and 500 doses each week, in addition to the doses already being distributed by the state to existing health care partners.
The program aims to "help ensure that communities hardest hit by COVID-19 have access to the vaccine," the governor's office said in a release. It will also look to reduce vaccine hesitancy in underserved areas.
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“Ensuring the most vulnerable Illinois residents have a trusted, reliable health care provider to administer the COVID-19 vaccine is critical to combating this deadly virus,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. “This new pilot program builds on robust efforts by the administration to ensure equity is at the center of the state’s Vaccine Administration Plan. By partnering with providers in underserved communities we can reduce vaccine hesitancy and ensure we are reaching Illinoisans in the communities they call home."
The partnership is part of a pilot program the state had earlier launched with 10 other health centers and safety net hospitals across the state.
IDPH used what it called the "COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index (CCVI)" as well as local vaccination rates to choose which health systems were selected for the first round of the pilot program.
In the coming weeks, the pilot program is expected expand to include "critical access hospitals" across Illinois.
The complete list of sites participating in the pilot program includes:
Cook & Collar Counties:
• Family Christian Health Center, Cook County
• Chicago Behavioral Hospital, Cook County
• AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center, DuPage County
• Lake County Health Department and FQHC, Lake County
• Crossing Healthcare, Macon County
• Touchette Regional Hospital, St. Clair County
• Rural Health, Inc., Union County
• SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital, Marion County
• Community Health Care, Inc., Rock Island County