Ike Ogbo.

The City of Evanston is “exploring all options” to help provide coronavirus vaccinations, according to Health Director Ike Ogbo.

Speaking on the city’s Coronavirus Q&A program this noon, Ogbo said the city is looking at drive-thru clinics similar to those done for COVID-19 testing and flu shots, or indoor clinics, although nothing has been determined yet.

He said Evanston has been “preparing for months,” because the issue of transportation, storage, administration and distribution of the vaccines has been “ever evolving, and there is a lot to do to work through the kinks,” he added.

Evanston officials are waiting for directives from the federal government on who will get the vaccines first. It is likely the first doses will be given to people in nursing homes, health care workers and individuals over 65.

Obgo said once mass distribution takes place, likely sometime next year, shots should also be available at pharmacies or at a person’s doctor’s office.

The federal Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize use of a vaccine from Pfizer pharmaceuticals on Thursday, with approval also anticipated for another vaccine from Moderna late next week.

An Evanston doctor who took part in the Moderna clinical vaccine test was also on the program. Dr. Richard Hubbard said he received two vaccinations, a month apart, starting in early September.

Richard Hubbard.

Hubbard does not know if he actually received the vaccine as part of the 40,000 person test, or if he was given a placebo.

The semi-retired doctor, who worked in medical research during his career, said he “wanted to give something back to the community” by taking part in the test. Hubbard said the researchers were looking for “older black individuals,” and he fit that bill.

Hubbard said he’s been monitoring his condition since getting the shots, and a couple of weeks ago felt like he was “coming down with something.” However, a COVID test showed he was not infected.

While there has been a lot of “political noise” about vaccine development, in response to a viewer question, Hubbard said he did not believe the vaccine approval is being sped up for political reasons. “There is no question about the scientific independence of the people making the decisions,” he stated.

Hubbard said he “certainly trusted” the testing, “or I wouldn’t have gone into the trial.”

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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