As three different COVID-19 vaccines become available across the country, Moderna remains the front runner for distribution in Chicago and across Illinois, according to Chicago’s top doctor.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the Moderna vaccine is being used more because it’s less complicated to handle and store unlike the Pfizer vaccine.
“Pfizer remains a little bit complicated in terms of it's got this ultra-cold vaccination storage and you only have five days to use it from when you pull it out,” Arwady said during a Facebook Live Q&A on Thursday.
”There’s a lot more related to mixing that vaccine, you have to use saline, it's generally done by pharmacists or people with more training, it's not an ideal setting for an outpatient setting.”
Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines have been circulating across the U.S., both requiring two shots for full protection and according to an analysis by U.S. regulators, Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine also offers strong protection against severe COVID-19.
But as more Johnson & Johnson vaccines become available in Illinois, Moderna remains the easiest to distribute, particularly to outpatient providers.
“Moderna has really been the one vaccine that's been useful for all of these outpatient settings which, from my standpoint is really where the money is in terms of getting vaccine to go into neighborhoods to smaller providers and Johnson and Johnson now coming in only has to be refrigerated,” Arwady said.
On Thursday Cook County Health will release 22,000 first-dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments Thursday afternoon for all Illinois residents eligible in Phases 1A, 1B and 1C.
The appointments will be released at 4 p.m. Thursday and can be booked on the Cook County vaccine website or by calling the county's hotline at (833) 308-1988.
Cook County's vaccination sites are open to all Illinois residents who qualify and remain by appointment only.