On Friday, January 15th Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that Phase 1B of Illinois Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Plan will begin on Monday, January 25th. Phase 1B will include “frontline essential workers” and include a sizeable number of Teamster Members. By the time Phase 1C is expected to begin as early as mid-to-late-February, most Members should be eligible for the vaccine. IDPH has some guidelines on COVID-19 vaccine distribution, but the rollout will differ greatly county-by-county and depend on supply at each vaccination site. It is unclear how involved each individual employer will be in notifying Members they’re eligible to receive the vaccine.
What we know:
- -The IDPH is planning Phase 1B to begin on January 25
- -Many Teamster Members who are frontline essential workers will be eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1B, and most Members should be eligible by Phase 1C
- -The state will set up drive-thru vaccine sites, as well as offering the vaccine at pharmacies, healthcare centers, and “through large employers”
- -The best course of action for anyone interested in getting the vaccine ASAP is to fill out a survey and sign up for updates from their local county health department, healthcare provider and pharmacy
What we don’t know:
- -How and when county health departments (or healthcare providers) will notify individuals and/or employers they can schedule a vaccination
- -How and if individual employers will have a role in notifying workers they are eligible
- -How those administering vaccine will certify Phase 1B eligibility
- -Where drive-thru testing sites will be located
- -When or if the IDPH will give local health departments further guidance for Phase 1B or Phase 1C
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s guidelines, this will include residents 65 and older and essential frontline workers, which it does not clearly define, but gives examples such as” education, food and agriculture, manufacturing, corrections workers and inmates, USPS workers, public transit workers, grocery store workers and staff at shelters and day cares.”
The IDPH said the vaccine will be distributed by healthcare providers, local pharmacies, and dozens of drive-through vaccination clinics to be set up statewide (similar to the COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites). The IDPS expects some to be running by Monday, but there is no list yet as to where these sites will be set up, or how they will work. It’s unclear whether they will require proof of job title and/or proof of residency, but once vaccination clinics open, you’re advised to bring your work ID and State issued ID or driver’s license to your vaccination site.
There is no statewide IDPH sign up list to be vaccinated.
The IDPH advised individuals interested in the vaccine to contact your local health department or healthcare provider for more information on the availability and scheduling of the vaccine.
County Health Departments
Individual counties throughout the state are all handling the vaccination plan differently. Most county health department websites like DuPage and Lake Counties have a sign-up list to receive updates on when the vaccine is available to you. Some are calling it a “registration” while others indicate it is simply a sign-up for updates. Every county health department encourages those interested in getting the vaccine to take the survey and/or sign up for updates on their county health department websites.
Cook County has a survey for individuals to take that will also sign them up for COVID-19 vaccine updates. It asks a few questions about your job duties and employer to give the county a better idea of how many doses they should plan for at each stage. It is encouraged for all interested in the vaccine within Cook County to fill out the survey. They also have one for organizations on their website, which appears to be only for 1A organizations, which applies to only medical care facilities. It is unknown if they will put out a similar survey for 1B and 1C organizations.
Pharmacies & Healthcare Providers
Much like County Health Departments, pharmacies like Osco and CVS are offering the option to sign up for vaccine updates, but not an actual sign-up list to get an appointment to receive the vaccine. They will be vaccination sites along with state-run sites that will be set up by the Illinois National Guard.
Governor Pritzker said in addition to drive-thru, state-run, and pharmacies, “large employers” will be offering the vaccine to its employees during Phase 1B. It is unclear how large a “large employer” is. For example, we know the State is working with larger healthcare facilities and public safety agencies to offer the vaccine to first responders and frontline healthcare workers. It’s unknown how many employers the State is working with for Phase 1B distribution. Employers may or may not be involved in letting employees know when they’re eligible.
It is anticipated that Phase 1C vaccinations could begin by late-February, though there are conflicting predictions and several variables in play that will affect when Phase 1C will begin. The CDC guidelines, which Illinois has adopted, says that will include, “all other essential workers: workers in transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, shelter and housing (e.g., construction), finance (e.g., bank tellers), information technology and communications, energy, legal, media, and public safety (e.g., engineers), and public health workers.”
We have confirmed with the IDPH that, outside of public transportation, most transportation workers, including UPS workers, will not be eligible to receive the vaccine until Phase 1C vaccination begins.