Vaccine update: Feds cut IL’s shipment in half; Governor, IDPH urge patience


WATCH ABOVE: Illinois Governor JB Pritkzer and health officials give a regular update on COVID-19 in Illinois Wednesday

CHICAGO, Ill. (WCIA) — Two days after the state celebrated the arrival of initial shipments of the coronavirus vaccine, the federal government on Wednesday told Illinois not to expect the previously-promised number of doses in the coming weeks.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told Governor JB Pritzker Wednesday morning that its plan to ship nearly eight million Pfizer vaccine doses to states, large metropolitan areas and territories across the country had been “tightened” — which, in practical terms, means slashed by nearly half.

Illinois anticipated receiving nearly 8 million doses next week; federal projections say the state can expect 4.3 million. Similarly, the following week’s original projection of 8.8 million doses is also cut to 4.3 million.

“This development will likely cut our state’s projected Pfizer shipments this month by roughly half,” Pritzker said during a coronavirus news conference. “The same is true across the rest of the nation.”

The cuts do not affect the shipment of 109,000 vaccine doses that already arrived to Illinois on Monday. Pritzker said distribution of those doses to regional destinations “remain on-schedule.”

While new Covid cases are currently spiking in some southern and coastal states, infection rates have continued to drop in Illinois and across the Midwest.

With 146 additional COVID-19 deaths reported Wednesday, Illinois averaged about 141 deaths a day over the past week. While that represents a decline, the state is still averaging about 20% more deaths than the highest point seen in the spring.

According to the CDC, Illinois now ranks 8th in the nation in the number of COVID-19 deaths reported per 100K residents over the past seven days.

Coronavirus hospitalizations in Illinois continue to decline, with the IDPH reporting 4,793 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday night, including 1,045 in intensive care and 590 on ventilators.

Hospitals around the country and Illinois are continuing to administer COVID-19 vaccines to their workers as part of the initial wave of doses which are reserved for healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities.

Speaking Wednesday, Governor JB Pritzker said Illinois will be receiving about half as many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in future deliveries than previously promised by the federal government.

Health officials said Tuesday that doses already received by the state are being shipped to local health departments and deliveries will continue to take place over the coming week.

They did not release specific plans for deliveries, citing security concerns, while some suburban hospital officials said there has been confusion with the process.

While many Midwestern states are seeing a decline in COVID-19 cases, health officials in Indiana reported 6,283 new COVID-19 cases and 125 deaths Wednesday, while the state’s test positivity rate came in at 12.5% as of December 9.

Indiana continues to see a surge in hospitalizations as well, with 3,192 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday.

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(This story was originally published on December 16, 2020)

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