A vial of the COVID-19 vaccine. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

Evanston Health Director Ike Ogbo says a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines is expected to arrive in Evanston this week.

Ogbo, in a statement released this morning, said the vaccination program will start “with frontline healthcare workers, emergency medical services personnel, and those most vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19.”

He says the City has been working closely with federal, state and local public health partners, including AMITA Health and NorthShore University HealthSystem, to develop comprehensive plans for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to the community.

“Providing this safe, effective vaccine to all community members who wish to receive it will take months, not days,” Ogbo says, “and it’s critical that we all continue to follow public health guidance, including practicing social distancing, wearing face coverings, and washing hands frequently, whether we’ve received the vaccine or not.”

Vaccinations of frontline healthcare workers will begin this week, he says, followed by residents and staff of long-term care facilities and paramedics in late December.

Hospitals will vaccinate their own employees, and long-term care facilities will work with CVS and Walgreens to provide on-site vaccinations as part of a federal program. Ogbo says the City is working with local partners to make the vaccine easily accessible to paramedics.

The next priority will be essential workers and those at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Following distribution to these priority groups, vaccines will become available to the general public at designated vaccination sites in the months to come.

Dates for each distribution phase have not yet been determined.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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