NOTE: Watch the press conference live beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the player above
Chicago’s mayor and top doctor plan to deliver an update Wednesday on the city’s coronavirus response and its vaccination plan.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady are expected to hold a news conference on COVID-19 at 1:30 p.m. from City Hall.
The latest address comes one day after Illinois officials detailed the state’s plan to vaccinate residents, saying they were expecting the first shipments of the vaccine next week.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday that he has been told that the vaccine will likely start to arrive during the “week of Dec. 13 to the 19th,” but cautioned that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the federal government, have been giving the state some mixed signals on an exact delivery date.
That said, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, says the state is still planning to receive doses of the vaccine during that time frame.
“We are expecting the vaccine next week,” she said. “And we’re expecting vaccine doses to arrive every week thereafter. We may be looking at just Pfizer initially, but then we hope that other vaccines will be coming shortly after that.”
The Food and Drug Administration is currently evaluating emergency use authorizations for several coronavirus vaccines, including treatments produced by Pfizer and Moderna.
The state is currently slated to receive approximately 109,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine when the drug is approved by the FDA. Of those doses, approximately 23,000 are expected to come directly to Chicago.
Once those vaccines do begin to come in, Ezike says that the state will pull out all the stops in an “All-In Illinois” effort to make sure that the vaccine is administered as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“People will go to their doctor’s offices. Mass vaccination drives will be held. Some in churches, pharmacies, local health departments,” she said. “There will be myriad opportunities to get the vaccine. We want some drive-thru vaccination efforts too. Those will continue to ramp up as it becomes widely available to the public.”
According to Pritzker, each county has put together its own plan for how the vaccine will be distributed, with the governor pointed out that cities like Chicago and more rural communities will have different strategies in place to ensure that the vaccine is distributed as equitably as possible.
The FDA is expected to give emergency use authorization to some coronavirus vaccines in coming days, with Pfizer and Moderna both seemingly first in line for those authorizations. Illinois health officials have laid out their own plans for the virus, saying that healthcare workers, first responders, and residents and staff of congregant living facilities will be among the first people in the state to have access to the treatments when they are delivered.
Illinois health officials reported 7,910 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases and 145 additional deaths Tuesday. According to IDPH, those new cases bring the state’s total to 804,174 since the start of the pandemic, with 13,487 total fatalities.