'That's a fraction of what we will need': Chicago anticipates vaccine approval, urge continued mitigation efforts

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The FDA set to deliberate Thursday on Pfizer's vaccine for the coronavirus.

"I expect them to recommend approval based on the data I'm aware of and I saw the vaccine is highly effective; the vaccine is safe and the safety profile is compared to many other vaccines that have been in use for years," said Dr. Moncef Slaoui, Chief Scientific Adviser of Operation Warp Speed.

If approved, the vaccine could be available within days nationwide. Illinois is set to receive 109,000 doses, with 23,000 of that for Chicago.

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"Now, that's a fraction of what we will need," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Face the Nation Sunday. "But we've been working with our hospital partners to identify those within their workforce who are going to be front of the queue to get the early doses of the vaccine."

The CDC recommending health care workers and long-term care residents be in the front of the line. It could take months before most Americans get the vaccine.

"It really depends on the speed with which the federal government and the vaccine manufacturers can get the vaccine to the states, and then to vaccine providers," said Dr. Kiran Joshi with the Cook County Department of Public Health.

Illinois Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi is concerned about the spread of misinformation about the vaccine on social media.

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"Unfortunately, this is the season of conspiracy theories," he said. "And I think that combined with the anti-vaxxer movement which, you know, was a phenomenon before the pandemic, we're gonna have our work cut out for us."

Public health officials said even with a vaccine on the horizon, you should continue to wear a mask and keep your distance.

"I think we need to stay the course and together we can protect the most vulnerable among us, and that includes our seniors and those with chronic conditions," Dr. Joshi said.

All eyes will be on the UK as it begins offering the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday. It could help public health officials in the U.S. prepare for the rollout of the vaccine.
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