A Guide to When You Are Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccine

Grace Lee, Contributing Writer

When will you get your vaccine?

As vaccines begin to be delivered to hospitals around the country, each state now faces the task of distributing them effectively and equitably. For Illinois, there are four main phases of vaccine distribution. Phase 1 is divided into 3 sub-categories. The Illinois Department of Public Health explains exactly what these phases are.

Phase 1a consists of health care personnel and long-term care facility residents. Phase 1b then has essential frontline workers. Phase 1c may have “adults with high risk medical conditions and those over 65 years of age”. 

Phase 2 will occur once there are more vaccines available. People that are included are ones with “moderate comorbid conditions”. 

Phase 3 will occur when more vaccines are widely available. They will include the “immunization of children” and “young adults (18-30)”. 

Lastly, Phase 4 will occur once there are enough vaccines produced that the whole population can start receiving them. However, they will be sending vaccines to “the most vulnerable populations, such as homeless populations with limited access to care.” They are also planning on making the vaccines free for whoever needs or desires to take the vaccines. They will be distributing the vaccines through temporary health centers. 

In order to know a more visual and more detailed description of exactly what place you are in line, The New York Times created a vaccine calculator, as they paired with the Surgo Foundation and the Ariadne Labs. All you have to do is insert your age, your county, your profession, and if you have covid-related health risks. 

For me, I am “in line behind 185.6 million people across the United States”, “behind 7.2 million… in your state”, and “2.9 million others” in Cook County. This tool is extremely helpful to get a general idea of your stance when a vaccine will be available for distribution. The link is: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/12/03/opinion/covid-19-vaccine-timeline.html 

When will the vaccines come out?

Many will already know that some vaccines have already come out. For example, Moderna came up with a vaccine that seems to be 94.5% effective. Even better, there did not seem to be any serious side effects besides light headaches and tiredness. However, you need to take the vaccine in two installments that are 4 weeks apart. There is alse the Pfizer & BioNTech vaccine, which is so far proven to be 90% effective. This vaccine also must be taken twice, but 21 days apart instead. According to BBC News, both vaccines are “injecting part of the virus’s genetic code in order to provoke an immune response”. One positive about Moderna’s vaccine is its ability to still be usable up to 6 months is a -20C environment, which is not the same for Pfizer’s vaccine, who needs a -75C environment. The Sputnik V vaccine has also been developed in Russia, which is 92% effective. In other words, there is much hope for usable and effective vaccines to come and become open to the public very soon.

However, with the release of these vaccines, the FBI warns of imposters selling fake COVID vaccines. As reported by ABC News, there was a happening in Mexico involving a fake flu vaccine, proven by European Police Office. It is important to remember that vaccines are usually without charge. Therefore, if someone makes you pay for COVID-19 vaccine, there is a possibility that it could be a scam. 

What does Governor Pritzker say about vaccine distribution?

According to WTTW News, it is said that Pfizer vaccines will be distributed to “healthcare workers in Illinois and Chicago between Dec. 20 and Dec. 26. They are supposed to get 109,000 doses of it, with 23,000 doses of them going to Chicago. On the other hand, the Moderna vaccine may be “approved by federal officials on Dec. 17. Everything is still a bit blurry, but Illinois is quickly making progress to disperse the vaccines to the ones that need it the most in order to help others.