COVID-19 UPDATE for 1/20/2021

January 20, 2021 02:35 PM
Coronavirus_-_Restore_Illinois_-_Vaccine_Distirbution_Phases_1A_and__1B
 
 
COVID-19 UPDATE FOR 1/20/2021

 
VACCINE DISTRIBUTION: PHASES 1A AND 1B
 
 
The COVID-19 vaccine in a critical tool to safely reach the other side of this pandemic.  Through efficient and effective distribution of the vaccine, we can suppress the spread of the virus, save as many lives as possible, and rebuild our economy.  Illinois will only distribute a vaccine that is deemed safe.  As we move thorugh phases of vaccine distribution, the administration will ensure it reaches illinoisans as quickly as possible using an equity-centric approach as we have done throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  As we move forward, it is critical that Illinoisans continue to follow publid health recommendations to suppress the spread of the virus until vaccines are ready for widespread distribution.
 
 
CDC RECOMMENDATIONS
 
The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) - an esteemed group of public health experts and medical profrssionals - develops recommendations on how to use vaccines to control disease in the United States.  The Committe's recommendations are then approved by the Centers for Disease Control  (CDC).
 
With the demand for COVID-19 vaccines expected to exceed supply during the first months of the national COVID-19 vaccination program, ACIP recommended the following priority groups - those at the highest risk of exposure, morbidity and mortality - receive the first doses of vaccines before the general public:
 
  • Phase 1A:   Health care personnel and residents of long term care facilities.
  • Phase 1B:   Persona aged 75 years and older and non-health care front line essential workers.
 
ILLINOIS EQUITY-CENTRIC VACCINATION APPROACH
 
As a result of longstanding disparities in healthcare system access and delivery, Black and Brown Americans have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including suffering a disproportionate number of deaths.  In Illinois, Bl;ack and Brown residents are more likely to die at a younger age from COVID-19.  While the average white Illinoisan who has lost their life to COVID-19 dies at the age of 81, that figure drops to age 72 for Black Illinoisans and 68 to Hispanic Illinoisans.
 
As Illinois continues to scale its vaccinations program, Governor Pritzker, Dr. Ezike, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the enitre administration are committed to putting equity at the forefront, as it has been throughout the COVID-19 response efforts.  Building on the ACIP's recommendations, the state of Illinois is lowering the age elgibility by 10 years to ensure equitable access to the vaccine's protections, prioritizing residents 65 and over in Phase 1B.  In doing so, Illinois seeks to save lives in a truly equitable manner, recognizing that multi-generational institutional racisn has reduced access to care, caused higher rates of enviromental and social risk, and inceeased co-morbidities for people of color.  As public health experts continue to review the federal government's recommendations for Phase 1C in the context of Illinois' data, Governor Pritzker and Dr. Ezike will ensure the state's exit plan for this pandemic centers on the very structural inqualities that allowed COVID-19 to rage through our most vunerable communities in the first place.
 
PHASE 1A AND 1B
 
PHASE 1A:
 
The first phase of vaccinations includes frontline healthcare workers as well as residents and staff of long term care facilities.  The goal is to fortify the healthcare workforce by removing the most exposed workers from the cycle of illness and infection as well as protect our most vulnerable residents.  Most recent evalutions of Illinois' healthcare workforce and nursing home and long term care facility residents and staff estimate approximately 850,000 Illinoisans quality for Phase 1A.  Healthcare vaccinations began on December 15, 2020, with the federal government's nursing home and long term care vaccination program delivering its first shots on December 28, 2020.  The state estimates that all interested residents in Phase 1A will be vaccinated in the coming weeks.
 
PHASE 1B:
 
Once Illinois makes substantial progress in Phase 1A and federal vaccine deliveries increase, Phase 1B will include frontline essential workers and residents aged 65 and over.  The frontline essential workers designation includes many residents who carry a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure because of their work duties, often because they are unable to work from home, and/or they must work closely to others without being able to socially distance.  this includes first responders, education, food and agriculture, manufacturing, corrections workers and inmates, USPS workers, public transit workers, grocery workers and staff at shelters and day care centers.  To provide more equitable vaccine access to elder populations given data showing people of color die of COVID-19 at younger ages, Illinois lowered the age elgibility recommended by ACIP by 10 years, from 75 to 65.  Illinois has 1.3 million people who qualify as "frontline essential workers" and 1.9 million adults age 65 and over, totalying 3.2 million elgible Illinoisans.
 
PREVENTING INFECTION WHILE VACCINATIONS CONTINUE
 
While Illinoisans get vaccinated for COVID-19 and build immunity, it is vital that residents continue to take safety precautions to prevent additional infections from occuring.  Wearing a mask and practicing social distancing and hand hygiene are proved methods of reducing virus transmission and can save lives.
 
 
For the latest information on vaccine distribution in Illinois, please visit the IDPH website:  dph.illinois.gov 
 
 
 
1/20/2021
 
 

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