IDPH Director Dr. Ezike says wide vaccine availability months away

Coronavirus

CHICAGO (AP) – Illinois’ top doctor vowed wide availability of the COVID-19 vaccine to the state’s residents, but said it’ll take months for supply to meet demand.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike’s comments in a weekend Chicago Tribune opinion piece come amid complaints of shortages and difficulties in obtaining appointments. The recent blast of winter weather also delayed shipments, leading to canceled appointments.

“It will be months before our supply comfortably outpaces demand – an obstacle we always expected, and the very reason we have devoted so much time and thought to the phases of prioritization,” Ezike wrote. “Everyone deserves their turn to get the vaccine, and it’s my promise to Illinois that we will get there – as efficiently, quickly and equitably as we can.”

Currently, health care workers, residents ages 65 and older and essential workers are eligible in Illinois. State officials announced an expansion starting later this month to include people with underlying health conditions, but Chicago and other areas are delaying, citing a vaccine shortage.

More than 2.1 million vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois, according to state officials. Overall, Illinois has reported more than 1.1 million COVID-19 cases and more than 20,000 deaths.

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