February 2, 2021

When will you be able to get the COVID vaccine if you live in Cook County, Illinois? Where can you go to get updates and more information about vaccine distribution as it becomes available? 

At Companions for Seniors, we know how important it is to be able to get reliable, accurate information in this uncertain time. 

Here, we’ve gathered local resources that can help you understand more about the vaccine rollout in Illinois, and where you can go for answers.

“When Will I Be Able to Get the COVID Vaccine?”

The vaccine is being distributed in phases, following guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). This is to maximize the limited doses of the approved vaccines currently available. As more vaccine doses are produced, more people will be able to be vaccinated. 

We are moving out of Phase 1A of vaccine distribution, which focuses on healthcare workers, particularly those who treat COVID patients. Residents and staff at long-term care facilities are also being prioritized, as these have been major hotspots for outbreaks. 

We are moving into Phase 1B, which includes all adults aged 65 and older and frontline essential workers, including teachers, first responders, food processing and manufacturing workers, postal carriers, grocery store workers, and public transit workers. The majority of older adults in Illinois can expect to be able to receive the vaccination within this phase, beginning in January 2021.  

Following that, Phase 1C includes high risk adults and other essential workers who have not yet been vaccinated. 

Once the amount of vaccine dosages available increases to a sufficient level, we will move into Phase 2, in which high-risk adults of any age will be prioritized. Phase 3 and 4 will likely focus on young adults and anyone who has not already been vaccinated, as well as children. For more, please see the chart below from the Cook County Department of Public Health:

Cook County Vaccination Plan

For more information, we encourage you to visit the IDPH’s COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Planning Guide.

“Where Can I Get More Information or Register for the COVID Vaccine?”

At this time, pre-registration for the COVID vaccine is beginning to open. Chicagoland residents can sign up for multiple services to be notified with updates about the vaccine rollout, and when they may be able to access the vaccine in their area. 

For more general updates, visit the IDPH’s COVID-19 updates page, here.

“How Does the COVID Vaccine Work? What Does It Mean for My Health?”

It’s natural to have a lot of questions about the vaccine! Let’s explore some frequently asked questions about the vaccine and its effects. For more information, we encourage you to visit the City of Chicago’s COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs, as well as this handy overview of common questions from IDPH. 

“Is the vaccine safe?”

Clinical trials have revealed that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines currently available are approximately 95% effective. As ACIP explains, these COVID-19 vaccines were tested in large clinical trials to make sure they meet safety standards. Many people were recruited to participate in these trials to see how the vaccines offer protection to people of different ages, races, and ethnicities, as well as those with different medical conditions. The most common side effects of the vaccines are fever, chills, tiredness, headache, and irritation at the injection site. People with weakened immune systems, allergies, or who are pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider before receiving the vaccine. 

“Can I choose which type of the vaccine I’ll receive?”

At this time, individuals in Illinois cannot choose which type of vaccine they receive.

“Do I still need to get vaccinated if I’ve already had COVID?”

Public health officials agree that people who have had COVID in the past should still get the vaccine, since it is not known how long past infection provides immunity.

“How quickly does the vaccine start to work?”

Similar to the flu vaccine,  it will take a few weeks ​after completing the COVID-vaccine before your body builds up the immune response to protect against COVID-19. ​

This is why it is so important to receive both doses of this two-dose vaccine. The full immune system response will not be completed until several weeks after the second dose. One dose will not give you the same level of immunity.

“Can I stop wearing a mask and social distancing after I’ve gotten the vaccine?”

Given the time it takes to get large quantities of the vaccine produced and distributed, it will remain important to continue mask wearing, social distancing, and washing your hands frequently to help prevent the spread to people who have not yet received a vaccination.

About Companions for Seniors

Our professional caregivers can help provide Chicagoland’s aging adults with the support they need to live a more full, independent, and active life — while making sure they stay safe and healthy, at every step of the way.

Locally owned and operated in the Chicago area, Companions for Seniors helps provide seniors with a higher quality of life, while also offering respite and peace of mind for family caregivers who might need some support. Our companions help stimulate our clients physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, empowering them to live an active and enriched lifestyle.

Ready to keep the conversation going about home care during COVID? We’re here for you. Do not hesitate to get in touch online or give us a call at 866-910-9020 today!