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Trying to get your first COVID vaccine dose in Illinois? It may be a while.
With so many residents now due for a second shot, the state is contending with a limited supply just as more people are eligible to get a first dose.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Crain's Chicago Business
by Stephanie Goldberg

Illinois has emerged as a national leader in administering first doses of COVID-19 vaccines. But with so many residents now due for a second shot, the state is contending with a limited supply just as more people are eligible to get a first dose.

“You’re hearing a few grumblings from public health departments around the state, ‘Hey I’m getting more second-dose vaccines to push into peoples’ arms than I am first. I’d like to have more first,’” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said during a press briefing today. “Well, we’re getting those second-dose vaccines because now is the time that people are eligible to get that second dose.”

Authorized COVID vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require people to get two doses before they’re fully vaccinated, which complicates an already logistically challenging campaign. Providers need to ration doses to ensure they have enough second shots for people who need them.

The Cook County Department of Public Health and the Peoria City/County Health Department are among local health departments getting far more second doses right now.

Cook County suspended first dose appointments earlier this week. The website now says that “a very small amount of first dose appointments are available at our Triton and South Suburban sites,” noting that supply is expected to increase in the coming weeks.

About 80 percent of the vaccination appointments this week are to administer second doses, a spokeswoman told Crain’s on Monday.

And during today’s press briefing, Peoria Public Health Administrator Monica Hendrickson said many departments “are using this time to play catch up and get second doses in arms.” She added that, as new projections come in each week, the department reassess eligibility.

But supply is expected to increase soon. As of today, Illinois expects to receive an average of at least 100,000 doses per day by mid-March, bringing the state closer to widespread availability, Pritzker said. Currently, the state is administering about 60,000 doses a day.

The expected authorization of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID vaccine would add even more supply.

To date, one in seven Illinoisans has gotten a first dose of the vaccine, Pritzker said.

 

 

According to CDC data, 14.2 percent of the state’s population has received one or more doses, compared with 14.1 percent in California, 12.5 percent in New York and 13.2 percent in Florida.

“When you compare us to those states, in terms of getting a first vaccine into peoples’ arms, we’re the best,” Pritzker said.

 

Part of the reason Illinois is so focused on administering second doses this week is because it stayed in Phase 1A, which includes health care workers and nursing home residents, longer than other states.

“On Jan. 25 we opened up into 1B,” which includes more essential workers and people 65 and older, Pritzker said. “So when you count three and four weeks after Jan. 25, you’re here in this phase where now people who got their vaccines back then are getting their second doses as opposed to in other states they got their second doses last week or the week before.”

Reporter A.D. Quig contributed.

 



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