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About 20,000 people – or a quarter of Evanston residents – fall in Phase 1b, said Ike Ogbo, Director of Health and Human Services during a vaccine question and answer session on Thursday, February 4. The City has received only 8,900 doses to-date, a portion of which have been directed to local hospitals and used to vaccinate groups in Phase 1a.
Vaccine doses are still in short supply – Evanston receives a few hundred doses per week. “We are at the mercy of the state and the state is dependent on the federal government for its allotment,” explained Mayor Steve Hagerty.
The number of doses the City of Evanston receives has not materially changed in the past month, but Mayor Hagerty and Public Health Manager Greg Olsen are hopeful that Evanston’s allotment of doses will increase significantly in “three to four weeks’ time.”
Even so, health officials are not able to predict when Evanston will begin vaccinating teachers who qualify for Phase 1b or groups in Phase 1c. District 65 teachers will begin returning to in-person instruction on February 16, less than two weeks from today. Evanston Township High School has not announced a date for in-person instruction.
The City of Chicago estimates it will begin vaccinating Phase 1c groups in late March and Phase 2 in May. Once the state gets more uniform and consistent, we will have a better idea on allotments and timelines, explained Mr. Olsen.
In addition, it was recently discovered that residents of several congregate care facilities, including two Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) apartment buildings in Evanston – the Jane Perlman Apartments at 1900 Sherman Avenue and the Victor Walchirk Apartments at 2300 Noyes Court – had not yet been vaccinated, despite eligibility for Phase 1a. These facilities have now been scheduled, said Mayor Hagerty.
Director Ogbo announced that a vaccine dashboard will launch on Friday or early next week. This dashboard will likely include statistics such as the number of doses received and administered and the number of individuals vaccinated.
The City of Evanston is following IDPH guidelines and prioritizing those with the highest risk of severe complications if infected by the coronavirus, said Mayor Hagerty. Data shows that the elderly have more complications. As a result the City began vaccinating residents age 85 and older first, is now vaccinating residents 77 and older and will add groups by age increments as doses become available.
Mayor Hagerty clarified that Evanston residents who work in Cook County and meet Phase 1b requirements are able to participate in Cook County vaccination clinics.