On Monday, December 28, DeKalb County received the first shipments of COVID-19 vaccine. The initial shipment of the 800 doses received, will be used to provide vaccines to local hospital healthcare personnel as one of the first priority groups. Of the 800 vaccines received, 100 doses were received from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and 700 doses were transferred from another Local Health Department.
Long-term care facilities (LTCF) are also part of Phase 1 priority and DeKalb County LTCF are enrolled in a Federal Program, called the Pharmacy Partnership Program. This program is a direct partnership between LTCF and pharmacies. DCHD has been told that the expected start for long-term care facility vaccinations may be as early as this week.
“Of the 800 vaccines received, 100 doses were received from the Illinois Department of Public Health and 700 doses were transferred from another Local Health Department.”
Additional vaccine is expected to arrive on a weekly basis. DeKalb County does not currently have a registration site for vaccines. It is anticipated that phase 1a will take a few months to complete vaccination efforts. This timeline will depend on the future vaccine allotment for the County. In preparation for future populations eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, the Health Department is working with IDPH to implement a state-wide vaccine registration and scheduling tool.
At this time, we are not currently registering the general public for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Current Distribution Considerations
- When FDA first authorizes or approves the use of one or more COVID-19 vaccines, there will be a limited supply. This would mean that not everyone will be able to be vaccinated right away.
- While the supply is limited, certain groups (e.g. healthcare workers and long term care residents) will be prioritized to receive vaccine, based on national guidance.
- DCHD has been working with health care and community partners to increase our ability to quickly distribute a large amount of COVID-19 vaccine, as it becomes available.
- Supplies will increase over time, and it is anticipated all adults should be able to get vaccinated later in 2021. As more vaccine distributed by the federal government, COVID-19 vaccine will be available through additional vaccination providers, including doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.
Groups Considered for Early Vaccination if Supply is Limited
Although this information will be released by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) after the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is issued, these priority groups could include:
- Healthcare Personnel (Phase 1a) continue to be on the front line of the nation’s fight against this deadly pandemic. By providing critical care to those infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, many healthcare personnel have a high risk of being exposed to and getting sick with COVID-19. Healthcare personnel who get COVID-19 can also spread the virus to their patients seeking care for medical conditions that, in turn, increase their patients’ risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Early vaccine access is critical to ensuring the health and safety of this essential workforce of approximately 21 million people, protecting not only them but also their patients, communities, and the broader health of our country.
- Residents in Long Term Care facilities (Phase 1a) are at high risk for infection, severe disease, and death from COVID-19. Prevention may reduce hospital utilization.
- Workers in essential and critical industries are considered part of America’s critical infrastructure. Current data show that many of these workers are at increased risk for getting COVID-19. Early vaccine access is critical not only to protect them but also to maintain the essential services they provide U.S. communities.
- People with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness, regardless of their age. Severe illness means that the person with COVID-19 may require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe, or that they may even die. Early vaccine access is critical to ensuring the health and safety of this population that is disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
- Among adults, the risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk. Early vaccine access is critical to help protect this population that is disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
- The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority. Currently, clinical trials are evaluating investigational COVID-19 vaccines with many thousands of study participants to generate scientific data and other information for the FDA to determine their safety and effectiveness.
- If the FDA determines a vaccine meets its safety and effectiveness standards, it can make these vaccines available for use in the U.S. by approval or Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). After the FDA makes its determination, ACIP will review the available data in order to make vaccine recommendations to the CDC. ACIP will then recommend vaccine use. After a vaccine is authorized or approved for use, vaccine safety monitoring systems will watch for adverse events (possible side effects). CDC is working to expand safety surveillance through new systems and additional information sources, as well as enhancing existing safety monitoring systems.