COVID vaccine could arrive as soon as mid-December, Illinois health official says


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KMOX) - Coronavirus vaccine doses could start arriving by mid-December, according to the latest information from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

State leaders participated in a teleconference with the National Coronavirus Task Force Monday, and learned two vaccine candidates are aiming to get Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency approval on December 10.

"It's my understanding the delivery will take place a few days later, not the next day." Said Governor J. B. Pritzker. As for how many doses they would get, "We don't know the exact number. We first heard it was 400,000, then it was 80,000."

Either way, he says each person required two doses, so - whatever the number - you can cut the number in half for how many people will be vaccinated.

Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike insists the vaccines will be distributed evenly across the state. She's presuming both the Pfizer candidate and one from Moderna will both gain emergency approval on December 10.

"No nook or cranny of the state should be left uncovered." She said.

One thought is, should both vaccines be approved, the Pfizer ones would go to large hospitals because they have the sub-zero storage capabilities it needs. It also is to be distributed in batches of nearly 1,000. The Moderna shots are divided in batches of 10 and don't need the extreme cold to keep them viable. Those could go to smaller, rural hospitals.

Public Health is still in the process of coordinating with all the various hospitals to come up with a distribution plan. What's pretty certain is the Phase 1-A distribution would go to health care workers, with Phase 1-B aimed at essential workers, such as emergency responders, utility workers, logistics employees and others deemed essential for societal function. Governor Pritzker also thought to include those at highest risk, such as nursing home residents and patients with underlying conditions, as possible early recipients.

An interesting side note; most of the millions of doses of the Pfizer vaccine candidate reportedly arrived in Chicago recently. Seems the company is using a storage facility there to hold it until it's ready to ship out upon FDA approval.

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