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COVID Vaccine Info for Healthcare Providers

Survey for Suburban Cook County Healthcare Workers

The Cook County Department of Public Health is asking health care workers in suburban Cook County to complete an online survey to help prioritize the next phases of COVID-19 vaccinations. 

The timing of vaccinations is based on the number of doses delivered to Cook County. The survey helps ensure that doses are administered as quickly as possible. The information collected from the survey will be used to provide regular updates about when and where COVID-19 vaccinations will be available. 

To complete the survey, please click on this link.

Guidance for Hospitals and Health Systems

To assist hospitals and health systems with prioritization decisions for vaccinating their employees, CCDPH has outlined the following considerations. Considerations are based on risk of exposure and risk of severe COVID-19 disease. Hospitals and health systems should consider all categories of healthcare personnel for vaccination in each tier, including non-traditional HCP considered hospital staff with prolonged public contact (e.g., security personnel).

Initial Vaccine Prioritization Considerations

  • Tier 1 – HCP routinely caring for COVID-19 patients/patients under investigation (PUIs) AND performing or attending aerosol generating procedures (AGP).
  • Tier 2 – HCP that may care for COVID-19 patients/PUIs and perform or attend AGPs.
  • Tier 3 – HCP that provide direct care to COVID-19 patients/PUIs but do not generally perform or attend AGPs.
  • Tier 4 – HCP with direct contact with material potentially contaminated with COVID-19 viral particles (depending on hospital protocols, could include phlebotomists, technicians, environmental and dietary services personnel).
  • Tier 5 – HCP that provide direct patient care to patients that are presumed to have low risk of COVID-19, or who do not routinely provide care to high-risk individuals.

Healthcare personnel

Health care workers in suburban Cook County should complete one of the following surveys:

The information collected from the survey will be used to provide regular updates about when and where unaffiliated health care workers can be vaccinated.

EMS personnel

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.

Instructions to Request Vaccine

Entities that are interested in enrolling to receive COVID-19 vaccine (for receipt of vaccine and to administer to staff and to patients) should follow the steps below:

STEP 1: Register in I-CARE (Illinois Comprehensive Automated Immunization Registry Exchange)

  • Review COVID-19 Provider Requirements on IDPH SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Planning Guide (Section 5).
  • If you can meet the COVID-19 provider requirements, please use the instructions located on the I-CARE website to complete, sign and return the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement and Profile form, electronically through I-CARE.
  • **Please note – you MUST register in I-CARE even if you are already registered as a VFC provider.

STEP 2: Please “register” as a vaccine partner with CCDPH using this link

  • The Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) is using the information collected from this survey to inform our vaccination planning and support with coordination of resources across the region. We are currently establishing an overall coordinated approach for the ongoing communication and engagement with all stakeholders for the duration of the COVID-19 response, largely focusing on vaccination.
  • CCDPH requests that an administrator (e.g., director) of your organization complete this survey, one for each site.

Talking to Patients about COVID-19 Vaccine

Often as patients’ most-trusted source of information on vaccines, healthcare providers play a critical role in helping patients understand the importance of COVID-19 vaccination. You can provide information and answer questions about vaccine safety, efficacy, benefits and risks, and discuss whether the vaccine is right for them based on their medical history.

Engaging in Effective COVID-19 Vaccine Conversations

1. Start from a place of empathy and understanding

The pandemic has been stressful for many people. The first step is to acknowledge the disruption COVID-19 has caused in all our lives, providing an opportunity to recognize common concerns that can be addressed by a vaccine.

2. Assume patients will want to be vaccinated but may not know when to expect it

Consider providing the following general information to patients about the timeline for COVID-19 vaccines:

  • Limited COVID-19 vaccine doses will be available in suburban Cook County by the end of 2020. It is anticipated that vaccine supply will increase substantially in 2021.
  • The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available. However, not everyone will be able to get vaccinated right away.

3. Give your strong recommendation

  • Let your patients know you recommend COVID-19 vaccination for them once it is widely available.
  • Explain why you recommend it. For instance, it may be especially important for them because they have an underlying medical condition or are at high risk due to frequent contact with the public.
  • Share the importance of COVID-19 vaccines to protect patients’ health, as well as the health of those around them.
  • Reassure them of the safety of the vaccine. Explain that no steps are skipped during the clinical trial process. COVID-19 vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19 and cannot give someone COVID-19.
  • Talk about your personal plans to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

4. Listen to and respond to patient questions

Make it clear that you understand they have questions, and you want to answer them, so they feel confident in choosing to get vaccinated. Seek to understand your patients’ concerns and provide information they need in a way they can understand it.

5. Remind them of the importance of the vaccine in future visits:

Let your patients know that you are open to continuing the conversation. Because these vaccines are new, their comfort level with when to get vaccinated will vary. Continue to remind them about the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine during future routine visits. In the meantime, encourage them to continue taking steps to protect themselves from COVID-19 and let them know how you plan to share updates about vaccine availability.

Answering Patients’ Questions

Prepare for common patient questions and learn techniques to use during your vaccination conversations, including best practices for online communication. Refer to our “Frequently Asked Questions”.

For guidance for hospitals and health systems on vaccinating employees, please see the information on this page.