CHICAGO — Coronavirus vaccines are coming to Chicago — but life still won’t return to normal for many months.
City and state officials have repeatedly said the vaccine campaign will be slow because demand is high while supply is low. Vaccines aren’t expected to be available to the general public until late spring or the summer.
In the meantime, people will have to continue living as they have during the pandemic, which means following safety measures like wearing masks, social distancing and washing their hands frequently, the city’s and state’s top doctors have said.
That likely won’t change even after you’ve been able to get vaccinated.
Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, has said people will still need to wear masks, social distance and take other safety measures after being vaccinated.
That’s because while the vaccine will protect you from becoming ill, you might still be able to shed the virus and transmit COVID-19 to other people, Arwady said. The issue is still being researched.
Chicagoans will likely still need to take those safety measures for months into 2021, officials have said.
“A vaccine is not going to be here” for most people within the next few months, Arwady previously said.
“… It’s going to be months before we have the amount of vaccine [where] we start talking about vaccinating hundreds of thousands or” 2.7 million Chicagoans, Arwady said. “Throughout most of 2021, even as the vaccine is being rolled out, we are going to need people to keep wearing their masks, to keep social distancing. Even the people who have received the vaccine.”
But as more and more people are vaccinated, life will begin to return to normal.
There will once again be opportunities to see people who are more at risk, like the elderly and people with underlying conditions, Arwady said, though she added that will be safest to do only after all people who are part of a visit have been vaccinated.
And state and city restrictions on gathering, shopping and dining and drinking out could be lifted as the vaccine becomes more widespread.
Gov. JB Pritzker previously said the state would be able to return to normal once there was a widespread, effective vaccine.
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