COVID vaccine Chicago: Loyola University, Christ medical centers to serve as regional distribution points

Anyone working directly with COVID-19 patients will be the first to get a vaccine at Loyola University Medical Center
CHICAGO (WLS) -- From a doctor to an environmental services worker, anyone working directly with COVID-19 patients will be the first to get a vaccine at Loyola University Medical Center.

The Maywood hospital is one of 10 Illinois hospitals that will serve as a central distribution point for a region.

"What that means, besides vaccinating our colleagues and patients, we would also be responsible for first responders in those communities within that region," said Dr. Richard Freeman, Loyola Medicine's Chief Clinical Officer.

The Pfizer vaccine will be the first available for distribution. It will be shipped to the state of Illinois first before going to the hospitals, where exact numbers of doses are still being worked out.

"Once we receive the vaccine, we will set up vaccination centers," said Dr. Robert Citronber with Advocate Aurora Health.

Oak Lawn's Christ Medical Center will serve as one of the Advocate Aurora Health system's vaccination centers. It is also one of the state's 10 regional distribution centers.

However, because there will not be enough vaccine to initially inoculate an entire staff, hospitals must make choices.

"We think of it more as triage than rationing," Dr. Citronberg said. "We are prioritizing, [and] eventually we will have enough to immunize every one of our members."

At Loyola Medicine, the vaccine will not be mandated for its staff, but Dr. Freeman said most of his colleagues will definitely take it

"We just took a formal survey just to get an idea. I think 70%of our colleagues wanted to receive the vaccine at that point," he said.

While the state has its plan, the City of Chicago will be getting a separate shipment of doses. So far the Chicago Department of Health has not released its hospital distribution plan.
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