Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) has been preparing since the pandemic started to make the COVID-19 vaccine available as soon as possible to people living and working in CCDPH’s jurisdiction of suburban Cook County. Evanston, Oak Park, Skokie and Stickney Township have their own state-certified local health departments and are not part of CCDPH’s jurisdiction.
The Cook County Department of Public Health will expand to Phase 1b of the Vaccination Plan on January 25. CCDPH is currently facilitating the vaccination of approximately 100,000 from the Phase 1a group, and anticipates completing enough of this group to begin our transition to phase 1b on January 25. We will continue to prioritize any remaining Phase 1a individuals.
The expansion to Phase 1b includes members of the general public for the first time – about 375,000 people aged 65 and over. The 65+ population represents a majority of people within phase 1b. Phase 1b also includes police, firefighters and other essential workers, such as manufacturing employees and grocery store workers – a group estimated at 270,000.
CCDPH is committed to an equitable distribution of vaccine, with an emphasis on communities that have been most dramatically impacted by COVID, and traditionally underserved populations. Our strategies and decisions are driven to earn the trust of every resident.
In order to meet the need of these Phase 1b residents or workers CCDPH is adding significant capacity to our community vaccination plan distribution plan – CCDPH is distributing vaccine to a total of 91 sites including Cook County Health centers, large capacity sites around the county, 40 Walgreens locations, other pharmacies and county hospitals.
CCDPH is significantly expanding its capacity to provide vaccine to larger numbers of people each week and we hope additional vaccine is sent to us to accommodate that ability.
COVID vaccine will rollout in phases
Vaccination for COVID-19 in suburban Cook County will be rolled out in phases, based on national guidance. There will be a very limited supply in the beginning. As a result vaccines will be prioritized for:
- Healthcare workers – particularly those who treat COVID patients. Hospitals will vaccinate their own employees.
- Residents and staff at long-term care facilities. Long-term care facilities are part of a federal program that works with pharmacies to vaccinate residents and staff.
The COVID-19 Vaccination Plan will require a phased approach
- Supply may be constrained
- Tightly focus vaccine administration
- Administer vaccine in closed settings best suited for reaching initial critical populations (e.g. workplaces and other vaccination sites)
- 1a – Health care workers, beginning with hospital based, highest risk of exposure
- 1a – Long-term care facility (LTCF) staff and residents
- 1a – Unaffiliated healthcare workers including EMS personnel
- 1b – (ACIP recommendations pending) Essential workers, including first responders, corrections officers, education sector, food and agriculture, utilities, transportation
- 1c – (ACIP recommendations pending) High risk adults
- Phase 1b: Other essential workers and people at higher risk of COVID-19 illness, including people
Key factors and likely strategies
- Likely sufficient supply to meet demand
- Expand beyond initial populations
- Use a broad provider network and settings, including:
- Healthcare (doctors’ offices, clinical)
- Commercial sector (retail pharmacies)
- Public health venues (clinics, mobile clinics, FQHCs and community settings)
Populations of Focus
- Expand the vaccination strategy to provide COVID-19 vaccine in a manner that allows for equal access to the vaccine to:
- Phase 1 critical population members who were not vaccinated in Phase 1
- Remaining critical population groups
- General population
Key factors and likely strategies
- Likely sufficient supply
- Open access to vaccination
- Administer through additional private partner sites
- Maintain public health sites where required
CCDPH has established a partnership with Jewel-Osco to provide vaccinations to licensed EMS personnel who serve suburban Cook County. Three locations — one in the north, west and south suburbs of Cook County — have been activated. EMS personnel have been notified and have started to make appointments and receive the vaccine.
Vaccine supply is expected to continually increase in the weeks and months ahead. CCDPH will work with partners to ensure those that are the most vulnerable have access COVID vaccinations. Eventually, the vaccine will be available to all suburban Cook County residents who want it.
More information about Cook County’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan is available in this presentation.
For the latest information about COVID vaccine development and CCDPH’s vaccine distribution plan, click here. For people living and working in the City of Chicago, please see this page for information about Chicago’s plans.