Latest data from the federal Centers for Disease Control suggests most Evanston residents still have a long wait ahead before they get their COVID-19 vaccine shots.

As of Monday the CDC reported that enough vaccine for 3.3% of Illinois’ population to get a first dose had been distributed to the state and just under 1.4% of state residents had received their first dose of the vaccine.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is still working to get injections into the arms of people in priority group 1A — that’s healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities.

Those people are estimated to account for 7% of the state’s total population, so only about one-in-five of the people in that top-priority group have been vaccinated so far.

Definitely next on the IDPH priority list are frontline essential workers, first responders and persons age 75 and older, all in priority group 1B.

The IDPH has issued somewhat conflicting information about the priority list after that, with the same documents describing persons between age 60 and 74 as being in either the 1B or the 1C priority group.

No vaccination priority has been assigned yet for persons under 16 years of age, because no coronavirus vaccine has yet been approved for use on that age group.

Nationwide less than 1.5% of the population has been vaccinated so far, far short of the goal federal officials set of having 20 million people, or about 6%, vaccinated by the end of December.

The Cook County Department of Public Health has unveiled a website where most residents of the Cook County suburbs can sign up for information about vaccinations — but it’s not designed to serve residents of Evanston, Skokie Oak Park or Stickney Township — which all have their own health departments.

In a conference call with municipal officials from around the county Monday, county officials said that 36,000 hospital workers have been vaccinated so far in the county.

But County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said it will take a long time to get to the 70% level of vaccinations that is generally considered to be the minimum level required for a community to have heard immunity against the disease.

Evanston’s health department has so far only said it plans to make vaccines available to the general public at designated vaccination sites “in the months to come.” No dates have yet been announced.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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