Pritzker: Illinois to Receive 100K COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Daily by Mid-March

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks about the coronavirus at a vaccination site in Peoria on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (WTTW News)Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks about the coronavirus at a vaccination site in Peoria on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (WTTW News)

In just a few weeks, Illinois will begin receiving 100,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses per day, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday morning.

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“Based on the public commitment from the White House and vaccine manufacturers, as of today Illinois expects to receive on average 100,000 doses (of vaccine) per day by mid-March, meaning we’re getting closer and closer to widespread availability that we all want,” Pritzker said at coronavirus vaccination site in Peoria.

The state is currently receiving an average of 60,000 doses per day, according to the governor, who said vaccine supplies will steadily increase in the coming weeks.

While supplies will be increasing, Pritzker said he couldn’t predict when the state would enter the next phase of its vaccine rollout, called 1C, which could include other essential workers but is still being developed by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Illinois is currently in phase 1B of vaccinations, which includes front-line essential workers and people over age 65.

Starting Thursday, the state will begin vaccinating people ages 16 and older who have certain underlying health conditions and complicating factors but are not otherwise eligible for the vaccine.

But not all health departments will join in that effort. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said they would not to follow the plan laid out by the governor because it would add additional stress to a system that has left many people scrambling to find an available appointment.

Pritzker urged health departments to continue working toward his plan by “not only increasing the pace of vaccinations but doing outreach and education” to reach those who may face technology or transportation issues, or who have been misinformed about the vaccines.

On Wednesday, state health officials reported that more than 2.3 million vaccine doses have been administered to residents, including 291,273 in long-term care facilities. According to Illinois Department of Public Health data, approximately 4.8% of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated.

Health officials reported 2,022 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and 44 deaths on Wednesday, bringing statewide totals to 1,179,342 cases and 20,374 deaths. As of Tuesday night, 1,511 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, and of those, 338 were in intensive care units and 172 were on ventilators, according to IDPH.

The seven-day statewide positivity rate for cases as a percentage of total tests is 2.6%.

Test positivity across the state — the number of positive tests as a percentage of total tests — is 2.8%. That rate is higher in suburban Cook County (3.9%) and Chicago (3.1%), IDPH regional data shows.

“Things are getting better. This pandemic will end, but in the meantime, we have to mask up, help each other out and we’ll get through this together,” Pritzker said.

With more people getting vaccinated and the promise of increased federal supplies, Pritzker was asked Wednesday when the state would move into phase 5 of the its reopening plan. Illinois is currently in phase 4, which limits gatherings to 50 people and caps restaurant and bar capacity to 50 people or 50% room capacity, whichever is less.

“I’ve said from early on that what we need an effective vaccine that we can widely distribute … or a very effective treatment that we could widely distribute, and we’re getting there. We’re about 1 in 7 Illinoisans with first doses in their arms. We need to get closer to herd immunity for everybody to feel that we’re beyond phase 4 and for us to reopen everything entirely,” he said. “I think we’d all like to rip off our masks that we’re all wearing every day, and we’ll get there but we need to get vaccines into people’s arms.”

Contact Kristen Thometz: @kristenthometz (773) 509-5452  [email protected]

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