Information on Illinois’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan
Jan. 14, 2021
In December 2020, the Food and Drug Administration issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the State of Illinois then developed a multi-phase vaccine distribution prioritization program for our state to ensure that high-risk populations could be addressed first in a timely and equitable manner. The following provides the NIU community with useful information about the vaccines, eligibility and distribution.
About the Vaccines
The COVID-19 vaccines that are currently available require two shots of the same vaccine, three to four weeks apart depending on the type of vaccine, to be fully effective. This helps to ensure that enough antibodies are being produced to provide effective and long-lasting protection. It’s important that recipients take both doses to ensure effectiveness. If you choose not to get a second dose, the effectiveness of the vaccine might be reduced. The first dose of the vaccine will provide some protection, but the recommendation is to receive two doses to be protected as intended.
Vaccine Eligibility and Distribution
Illinois is currently in Phase 1A, which prioritizes health care workers and residents in long-term care facilities. Plans are under way to soon begin distributing the vaccine to those who meet the Phase 1B criteria. Those who work in higher education but who do not meet the criteria of phases 1A or 1B will be eligible in a future phases 1C and 2.
Per the process outlined by the state, county health departments and hospitals will provide the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible recipients. As more vaccine is distributed by the federal government, additional providers will be available, including, but not limited to, doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) across the state.
The COVID-19 vaccine is NOT mandatory in Illinois, but health officials strongly encourage those who are eligible to receive the vaccine. If you are currently eligible and wish to receive the vaccine, you are strongly encouraged to register for notification through the DeKalb County Health Department (DCHD) website or contact your residential health department. It’s important to stay informed because county health departments require registration for, and often provide little advance notice of, vaccination clinics that are being scheduled as soon as their doses become available.
If you are not currently eligible to receive the vaccine, you may register on the DCHD site to receive notification for when you become eligible.
DeKalb County Health Department Partnership
Since the onset of the pandemic, NIU has worked closely with the DCHD to support the health and well-being of our community. As vaccine becomes available in our county to those who are eligible, NIU will help communicate that information to our employees and students. As part of the DeKalb County Health Department’s Emergency Operations Plan, NIU has collaborated for many years to support mass vaccination efforts, which includes providing use of our Convocation Center for vaccination clinic space.
The DCHD will use the facility today – Thursday, Jan. 14 – for its first, large-scale Phase 1A clinic. We have identified staff who are eligible during Phase 1A, and those people have been notified.
More information on the vaccine and distribution plan, including a helpful FAQ, can be found via the Illinois Department of Public Health’s site. Please see Protecting the Pack for more information about NIU’s response to COVID-19.