Illinois health officials announced Wednesday that they are temporarily redirecting approximately 97,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses that have not yet been used in order to increase the limited supply of vaccine to those who are eligible under phase 1B.
The redirected doses will come from a federal partnership program to vaccinate long-term care residents and staff, according to Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.
“We want to make sure every dose allocated to Illinois can be used as quickly and equitably as possible,” Ezike said in a statement. “Long-term care residents and staff remain a top priority and we will ensure there will be as many doses readily available to those facilities as the PPP (Pharmacy Partnership Program) can administer each week.”
The federal PPP includes Walgreens and CVS and is responsible for scheduling and administering vaccines to long-term care residents and staff. Long-term care facilities have been allocated 496,100 doses, but only 163,592 have been administered, according to the latest data available from the IDPH. That’s about a third of the allocated doses.
Doses allocated to the program were based on the total number of beds in each facility and assumed full participation by residents and staff in the vaccine program, according to officials. Doses were intentionally allocated to the program to ensure there would be more than enough to fully vaccinate all long-term care facilities.
Of the 97,000 doses being reallocated, 80,000 will come from CVS’ portion while the other 17,000 doses will come from Walgreens, according to state health officials.
Approximately 110,000 doses will remain available for the federal effort to vaccinate long-term care residents after the transfer, according to officials, who say the program is administering approximately 36,000 doses per week. IDPH will monitor the program and direct additional doses to it if needed or if the rate of vaccination accelerates.
“The State is grateful for its partnerships with hundreds of providers and we are directing excess doses that otherwise would be sitting in the freezer three weeks from now to locations across Illinois to vaccinate our Phase 1B residents,” Ezike said in a statement.
More than 3.2 million Illinois residents qualify for vaccination under phase 1B, including teachers, first responders, public transit workers and grocery store workers.
Officials maintain that long-term care facilities remain a top priority in the state’s vaccination plan and the Illinois Department of Human Services is sending at least eight teams of nurses, volunteers and support staff to assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities for people with developmental disabilities and group homes, according to IDPH.
The teams are expected to be deployed in facilities this week, according to officials, who said facilities that are in the final stages of the federal program have been given the opportunity to have a state team visit their site in lieu of the federal teams.