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“Hunger Games” Vaccine sign up in Illinois: COVID-19 vaccine roll out worse than most states

 

As of Friday, roughly 960,000 Illinois residence have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 Vaccine— and about 270,000 of them have received both shots. But the state’s pace has ranked in the bottom third of the country for residents vaccinated when adjusted for population sizes.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration has pointed to different metrics to argue the state is doing relatively well at vaccinating people. Illinois officials have blamed rollout frustrations on scarce supplies and poor planning by the Trump administration.  “To accelerate immunizations, we need our federal partners to align their efforts with ours, to help solve practical operational issues,” the state’s health director, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, testified at a virtual congressional hearing Tuesday.

 

At that same congressional hearing, a West Virginia Republican noted Illinois had used up less than 60% of vaccine it had received, compared with his home state, which had used up more than 80% by then. Let the fingerpointing continue.

“Look, Operation Warp Speed created the vaccine. It’s the job of the states to put it in people’s arms. And it seems that (some) states can’t even get that right,” said U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley.

There are some facts that add to the state’s position in the country’s rollout. 

  • Illinois officials were late to try to hire outside experts to manage the rollout, then abandoned that effort to assemble their own team just weeks before the first doses showed up.

  • The state opened up shots to roughly a fourth of all residents, who qualified because of their ages or professions, then let a largely decentralized system figure out who’d be targeted and how fast to administer shots. 

  • There are no agreed-upon rules for what counts as successful. The state and Chicago each get shots to distribute, and they measure things differently.

  • Some local health departments have been allowed to build up sizable inventories while others did their best to inject shots in arms as quickly as they arrived.

Gov J.B. Pritzker gives a news briefing Jan. 27, 2021, at the drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination site set up inside of the Lake County Fairgrounds. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)

While some medical providers have begun reaching out to patients, many illinois Covid-19 vaccine seekers are often forced to make longshot cold calls to lists of places they’ve heard might have shots, or stalk websites that flash openings so briefly that those searching for them compare the hunt to the kill-or-be-killed plot of “The Hunger Games” books and movies.

Unfortunately, the state entered the pandemic with an already strained public health bureaucracy and already drained state budget. Researchers said that gave Illinois little room to adjust to a massive logistical headache by the federal government. But at the same time, they say, there’s  no excuse for failing to fix resulting problems.

“Every day that a dose of vaccine is not in somebody’s arm is a day that person is exposed to COVID,” said Hani Mahmassani, who directs Northwestern University’s Transportation Center and has been commissioned by the National Science Foundation to help study logistical woes from the rollout.

Just how bad is Illinois?

On a tour of a Champaign vaccination site Wednesday, Pritzker praised the state’s mass vaccination effort. “We’re actually doing quite well,” he said. “We’re reaching new heights. I just announced a record today. We had I think three record days or four record days last week.”

 

Covid-19 Statistics By Race

 

Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19. Racial and ethnic disparities in health care are known factors contributing to the higher morbidity and mortality among Blacks.

65,455 Black lives have been lost to COVID-19 to date. Blacks account for 14% of Covid-19 deaths where race is known. Black people are dying at 1.5 times the rate of white people.

What to Expect After Getting The COVID-19 Vaccine

 

 

COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.

 

Common side effects

On the arm where you got the shot:

  • Pain

  • Swelling

Throughout the rest of your body:

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Tiredness

  • Headache

Helpful tips

If you have pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

To reduce pain and discomfort where you got the shot:

  • Apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area.

  • Use or exercise your arm.

To reduce discomfort from fever:

  • Drink plenty of fluids.

  • Dress lightly.

When to call the doctor

In most cases, discomfort from fever or pain is normal. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider:

  • If the redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours

  • If your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days

Scheduling your second shot?

If you need help scheduling your vaccine appointment for your second shot, contact the location that set up your appointment for assistance. For questions or if you are having trouble using vaccine management or scheduling systems, reach out to the organization that enrolled you in the system. This may be your state or local health department, employer, or vaccine provider.​

About your second shot

Both COVID-19 mRNA vaccines will need 2 shots to get the most protection. The timing between your first and second shot depends on which vaccine you received. You should get your second shot:

  • for the Pfizer-BioNTech 3 weeks (or 21 days) after your first shot,

  • for the Moderna 1 month (or 28 days) after your first shot.

You should get your second shot as close to the recommended 3-week or 1-month interval as possible. However, there is no maximum interval between the first and second doses for either vaccine. You should not get the second dose earlier than the recommended interval. ​

Remember

  • Side effects may feel like flu and even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.

  • With most COVID-19 vaccines, you will need 2 shots in order for them to work. Get the second shot even if you have side effects after the first shot, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get a second shot.

  • It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot.

It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.​

‘I Barely Felt it!’ Kamala Harris Gets First Dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine 

Kamala Harris, the VP-elect, got her first dose of the Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday.

“OK, let’s do it,” she said, as registered nurse Patricia Cummings of the United Medical Center readied the needle. “That was easy. Thank you. I barely felt it. I barely felt it.”

Harris received the dosage after challenging President Donald Trump during the presidential campaign on his administration’s work on vaccinations. More about that shortly.

To get her shot, Harris visited a medical center in Southeast, Washington, D.C. The area is known locally as Anacostia and it’s primarily a low-income neighborhood.

A reporter asked Harris if she took the shot at that location by design in order to “dispel fears and mistrust in the minority community.”

“I’m in Anacostia today because, first of all, we have phenomenal healthcare providers like nurse Patricia, who serve our community and we have hospitals and medical centers and clinics like this all over the country who are staffed by people who understand the community, who often come from the community, and who administer all year trusted healthcare,” was Harris’ answer.

She added:

“And so I want to remind people that right in your community is where you can take the vaccine, where you will receive the vaccine.”

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As far as the shot, the Vice President-elect called it “relatively painless” and said that her husband, Doug Emhoff, would be administered the Moderna vaccine later Tuesday.

“And literally this is about saving lives,” she said. “I trust the scientists and it is the scientists who created and approved the vaccine.”

Now, regarding her comment on not taking the vaccine if Trump recommended it, the outgoing president and Republicans jumped on Harris during the presidential campaign for saying that if “Donald Trump tells us to take it, I’m not taking it” about a potential coronavirus vaccine.

You know Trump was gonna come back at her and during a September press conference, he did just that. He knocked Harris for her ‘anti-vaccine rhetoric.’

Harris, like President-elect Joe Biden, expressed confidence in a vaccine if medical professionals like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, backed it.

Fauci has already received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

‘I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump, and it would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he’s talking about,’ Harris, more broadly, said about the president’s track record during the pandemic in early September.

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