CHICAGO (CBS) — The first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine were headed to hospitals late Sunday, and were poised to be administered to frontline health care workers within hours.
The precious cargo started leaving Pfizer’s facility in Michigan early Sunday. It is a logistical challenge that involves factory workers, truck drivers, and even airline pilots.
On Sunday night, CBS 2’s Steven Graves broke down what the distribution in our region will look like.
The vaccine is a long time coming for health care workers. Hospitals like Stroger Hospital of Cook County and many others will get the vaccine first.
Illinois will receive more than 100,000 doses in the first run, while Indiana will receive a little more than half that many.
COVID-19 cases and deaths are still major concerns in both states.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine shipped out in frigid temperatures from the drug company’s Kalamazoo, Michigan site on Sunday. Truckloads of it were escorted by police.
Planes also filled up.
It is a portion of the approximately 3 million initial doses headed out nationwide. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said the state will get 109,000.
Counties with the highest COVID-19 death rates will take priority. Leaders in each area will determine allocations.
Chicago will manage its own supply and initially get 23,000 doses. Nine hospitals will store and distribute the vaccine.
Vaccination sites for health care workers – the first to receive the treatment – could look much like the makeshift pods now set up at Rush University Medical Center for the purpose. The plan is to vaccinate 1,000 staffers a day.
At Stroger, the plan is to vaccinate hundreds a day. In DuPage County, some doctors expect to get the shot as early as Tuesday.
Indiana is slated to get about 55,000 doses, at a time when the state is experiencing record hospitalizations.
“We do believe when nurses get a vaccines themselves, they role model the behavior we feel will set us on the path to attain widespread vaccination,” said Emily Sego, President of the Indiana State Nurses Association.
Northwest Indiana’s Munster Community Hospital is slated to serve as a pre-positioning site.
Right now, there is no mandate for people to take the vaccine. People are also encouraged to stay socially distant and mask up.
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Source: CBS Chicago