Vaccine distribution to first responders in Evanston started this morning, with firefighters getting their first shots of the vaccine at the Levy Center.

Evanston’s health director, Ike Ogbo, says about 70 first responders, mainly firefighter/paramedics, were vaccinated today.

City officials say they plan to follow the state’s priorities in distributing the vaccines.

First priority will go to healthcare workers, residents and staff of long-term care facilities and paramedics.

The start of the injections here comes amid reports nationwide of delays in vaccine distribution. The federal government had set a goal of giving at least 20 million people their first shots by the end of December.

But as of yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said just under 2.8 million people had received their first dose.

Illinois has been doing relatively well compared to many other states, with about one third of the vaccine doses received by the state actually injected into people’s arms so far.

But that still amounts to just under 1% of the state’s residents having received their first dose of the vaccine.

Update 2 p.m.:

Evanston Now’s Jeff Hirsh reports that Evanston-based NorthShore University HealthSystem, with five hospitals in the region, says it has vaccinated more than 6,000 staff members and contract employees so far, including doctors, nurses, housekeepers, and others.

Those workers received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine between December 18-25. Administration of the second Pfizer shot begins next Thursday.

NorthShore says it has also received 3,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine. Those shots begin on Monday, and have a 28-day period between the first and second doses.

Spokesperson Carolyn Starks says a small number of those who received the Pfizer vaccine reported “minor reactions,” and were “well cared for in a timely manner” by the clinical staff.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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