CHICAGO — Illinois will be getting more than 100,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine per day as early as mid-March, Gov. JB Pritzker said Wednesday.
The federal government, which distributes vaccines doses, has directed more toward Illinois and Chicago — which has its own vaccination campaign — in recent weeks. That number will rise even higher, with the state expecting to receive, on average, at least 100,000 doses per day by mid-March, Pritzker said at a news conference Wednesday.
That means “we’re getting closer and closer to widespread availability that we all want,” Pritzker said.
It was not immediately clear how many more doses Chicago will get as the federal government increases supply, but the city can expect to see a bump. Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said earlier this month she’s “pretty optimistic” the city will “be getting quite a bit more vaccine here” in March.
The boost is desperately needed, as demand for the shots has far outpaced what has been supplied to the state and city. That’s forced local governments to ration doses and try to direct them to people and communities most at risk from COVID-19 — and it’s caused huge headaches as people try to get vaccine appointments, which fill up as soon as they’re offered.
City and state officials have said their efforts to get people vaccinated have been slowed by the low supply. Pritzker said the state potentially has the resources to vaccinate every Illinois resident in one day if only there were more doses available.
Still, the state has lagged behind others in getting people vaccinated, though Pritzker still plans to start vaccinating people with underlying conditions come Thursday.
The federal government has made small increases to the number of doses it’s provided to Illinois and Chicago since President Joe Biden took office, but the jump to 100,000 per day will be a significant boost to Illinois’ vaccination effort.
Another coming boon: If the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved, as expected, Illinois can expect to see a 20 percent overall increases in the amount of doses it gets, Pritzker said.
“Things are getting better,” Pritzker said. “This pandemic will end. But, in the meantime, we have to mask up, we have to help each other out and we’ll get through this together.”
Pritzker and other officials have said vaccinations are what will end the coronavirus pandemic and allow governments to roll back restrictions.
“We’ll get there,” he said. “But we have to get vaccines into people’s arms.”
The state is administering an average of 55,917 vaccine doses per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. So far, Illinois has administered at least 1,963,713 vaccine doses of the 2,307,685 provided to it.
More than 426,000 doses of vaccine have been administered to Chicagoans.
Another 291,269 vaccines have been administered in long-term care facilities, which have been provided with 445,200 doses. Those vaccinations are done through a federal partnership with pharmacy chains.
All together, at least 2,254,982 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois.
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