CHICAGO (WMBD) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said his administration is working with pediatricians, local health departments, schools, and other organizations to prepare for the anticipated approval of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11.
Pritzker outlined coordinated statewide efforts during the press conference. Officials with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are enrolling pediatric offices to provide COVID-19 shots in preparation for the 1.1 million children across the state who will become eligible for the vaccine.
More than 2,200 locations and providers statewide, including Chicago, are already enrolled to provide the vaccine. This includes more than 700 pediatric and family medicine practices, more than 700 pharmacy locations, approximately 100 urgent care locations, 112 local health departments and public health clinics, 270 federally qualified health centers, more than 200 hospitals, and dozens of rural health clinics.
“As soon as the FDA and the CDC have signed off, these kid-sized doses and kid-sized needles will be shipped out to pharmacies, pediatricians and other providers across Illinois — and IDPH has reached out to every pediatrician in the state to enroll them in the vaccine distribution program,” Pritzker said. “As a parent, you should call your pediatrician now to make sure they’ve enrolled and have ordered doses. And I will do everything in my power to continue to follow the science and keep our kids safe.”
Pritzker said the state should receive an initial allotment of about 306,000 doses for Illinois’ youngest residents. An additional 73,000 doses will be allocated for the City of Chicago, and more than 100,000 additional doses will be headed to the federal government’s pharmacy partners in Illinois.
Overall, the first allocation will total approximately 500,000 doses available to Illinois children.
“[Once the] authorization has been granted, it is critically important that we get as many children vaccinated as quickly as possible, in order to provide them with the ultimate degree of protection,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “IDPH is partnering with practices of all sizes, healthcare systems, and physician associations across the state to ensure the vaccine is readily available as soon as parents and guardians request it for their children.”