Chicago’s first COVID-19 vaccinations are administered

Dr. Marina Del Rios, from University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System, receives Chicago’s first COVID-19 vaccination from Dr. Nikhila Juvvadi on Tuesday at Loretto Hospital | Screenshot

The Loretto Hospital was chosen by the city to give the first shots for the coronavirus to five health care workers. Five health care workers became the first people in Chicago to receive a vaccine for COVID-19.
Loretto Hospital, a community health care provider in the Austin neighborhood, was selected by the city to receive and administer the first shots Tuesday morning.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the hospital was picked because it serves a community that has been hard hit by the virus.

Other hospitals will receive vaccine doses throughout the week.
Many residents in the Black and Latino communities are suspicious of medical research, presenting a huge challenge for city officials.
Loretto CEO George Miller said in a statement he visited more than 100 churches to help build trust in the community.
Just after 9:30 a.m., the city announced on Twitter that the first shots of vaccine had arrived in Chicago.

The first COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in Chicago.— Chicago (@chicago) December 15, 2020

Shortly after the Chicago inoculations, five other health care workers received the vaccine at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria.
The first 109,000 doses are being distributed this week among 96 hospitals across the state, prioritized for 50 counties suffering the highest per-capita coronavirus death rates.
About 43,000 of those were delivered to hospitals Tuesday. Gov. J.B. Pritzker called it “a beginning for the state of Illinois.”
“People getting vaccinated, particularly our health care workers, is an exciting moment. I hope that everybody will take note,” Pritzker said. “These health care workers have been working all throughout this pandemic taking care of people on the frontlines. These are our heroes, and our heroes now have stepped forward to get their vaccine and to show the way for everybody.”
The first doses were administered 274 days after COVID-19 claimed its first life in Illinois March 16. Since then, the virus has spread to more than 856,000 additional people, killing a total of 14,394 residents.
It’s also devastated the economy, particularly the hospitality and entertainment industries. The Democratic governor has said the state won’t fully reopen until a vaccine is widely available, and that’s still months away.
“Today is the beginning of a process that allows us to move toward reopening the state entirely. It will take some time,” Pritzker said.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times
Certified nursing assistant Chemica Jones, 41, received the state’s first coronavirus vaccination at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said the goal to achieve “herd immunity” in the state is to vaccinate at least 10 million of the state’s roughly 12.7 million residents. That process that “will take quite awhile,” she said, depending on how many vaccines receive federal approval and how much people trust them.
“It will be many, many months — I think most of 2021 will be spent in this effort,” Ezike said. “But I’m excited for the engagement and for the support of the community to get this done as rapidly as possible.”
Brett Chase’s reporting on the environment and public health is made possible by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust.

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