With vaccine demand no longer outpacing supply, Illinois is moving into its next vaccination phase, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday afternoon.
“The days of vaccine scarcity are over,” Pritzker said. “Today, we’re initiating the expansion of vaccine administration to physician offices across the state of Illinois, allowing them to become COVID-19 vaccine providers for their patients.”
Currently, 1,054 doctors’ offices across the state have already registered to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, according to state officials.
“We have the vaccine. All we need is the doctors,” Pritzker said, encouraging all interested clinicians to register with the state to become providers. Interested providers can enroll online.
“This is about making it as easy as possible for (someone) to get vaccinated to protect themselves against COVID-19,” he added. “For some people, that’s a matter of comfort. They’d rather get a vaccine from a doctor they know and trust. For others it’s about convenience. If you’re already visiting a health care provider for another treatment or checkup, it’s easier to get vaccinated on the spot rather than having to make a second, extra trip.”
While a vaccine has not yet been authorized for children, state officials encouraged pediatricians to register now so they’ll be ready to administer doses once a vaccine is approved for youth. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 by next week.
The enrollment and approval process will take up to two weeks, according to Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.
“We know that there are some logistical challenges with the vaccine, namely the ultra-cold storage requirements and the number of vials that are typically shipped to a provider,” Ezike said. “We’re going to work with hospitals and health care organizations to identify ways in which smaller doctors’ offices can work with one another and share the doses so that even a provider who may only administer a dozen or two dozen doses a week can still have access to this valuable resource.”
More than 9.6 million vaccine doses have been administered across the state, and 33.6% of the state’s more than 12.7 million residents have been fully vaccinated, according to Illinois Department of Public Health data.
The majority of shots have been given at mass vaccination sites, pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, mobile clinics and through community outreach initiatives, according to the governor’s office. Pritzker also announced all state-run mass vaccination sites will now accept walk-in appointments.
The state health department is also coordinating vaccination clinics with religious groups, community organizations, mutual aid programs, neighborhood associations and other organizations. Interested groups can sign up online to host a clinic in their community.
Chicago appointments are available at zocdoc.com/vaccine and can be scheduled by calling 312-746-4835.
For information about suburban Cook County COVID-19 vaccinations, including how to register for an appointment, visit vaccine.cookcountyil.gov or call 833-308-1988, which operates 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday.
Illinois residents can also call the state hotline (833-621-1284) to make an appointment.