Daily file illustration by Catherine Buchaniec
Evanston’s Health and Human Services department called city residents and workers Thursday to complete a COVID-19 vaccination interest form to help the city gauge local demand as it moves into new stages of administration.
Those who complete the form will not automatically be registered for the vaccine, but they will receive regular updates on the city’s distribution efforts, as well as on location and timing for their potential vaccination.
“The City is following a phased approach to vaccination as recommended by the Illinois Department of Public Health,” HHS Director Ike Ogbo said. “While vaccine supplies are limited, vaccinations are being prioritized for frontline healthcare and essential workers, as well as individuals at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.”
Evanston has received 3,550 COVID-19 vaccine doses since mid-December, and has provided 2,765 of those doses to local hospitals, healthcare providers and paramedics. The city is set to provide 500 more vaccines to non-hospital, community-based health workers this week.
In an email Thursday, Northwestern senior associate vice president and chief risk and compliance officer Luke Figora said NU strongly encourages but is not requiring students to receive the vaccine.
Figora said public health, not the University, will manage vaccine distribution through Phase 1C — those with high-risk medical conditions and non-frontline essential workers — according to the Illinois Department of Public Health vaccine plan.
He said it is not yet clear whether faculty members and public-facing staff will be designated as “frontline essential workers” and eligible to receive the vaccine in the state’s distribution Phase 1B, which includes individuals over 64 and frontline workers.
Northwestern Medicine is still carrying out vaccine distribution Phase 1A — healthcare workers and long-term care residents and staff — but will include NU community members with exposure to healthcare settings in its vaccination plan.
“It is important to recognize that the vaccine might not be widely available until later this year,” Figora said. “It is essential that we continue to follow all of the precautions to create a healthy campus — including wearing masks, physical distancing, testing, hand-washing and health monitoring.”
— Pritzker lowers Illinois Phase 1B vaccine eligibility age to 65, citing equity reasons
— NU professors discuss the possibility of mandating the COVID-19 vaccine
— Northwestern, Chicago-area hospitals conduct vaccine clinical trials among other preventative studies