SPRINGFIELD — State officials have been notified that winter weather across much of the U.S. is causing delays in the delivery of COVID-19 vaccine shipments, according to a Tuesday news release.
“To help offset delayed vaccine deliveries, the State of Illinois proactively ordered vaccine to be delivered to its Strategic National Stockpile Receipt, Store and Stage site in anticipation of adverse weather,” the release said.
Those vaccine doses from the stockpile site will be distributed to providers as weather permits in the coming days, according to the release, which said the Illinois Department of Public Health has been in close contact with providers about the delays.
The release said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is projecting weather-related delays in the supply chain that may affect deliveries the rest of the week.
The state administered 40,354 COVID-19 vaccinations Monday. As of Tuesday, it has issued over 1.8 million doses, with 3.3 percent of the population fully vaccinated. About 11 percent of the state’s population has received at least one dose, moving Illinois to 23rd in distribution nationally, according to a New York Times vaccination database.
The state has used over 74 percent of the 2.4 million does the federal government allocated to it. Its seven-day rolling average for daily vaccines administered stood at 63,772 Tuesday, up from 55,000 doses per day a week ago.
The state announced Monday that it would begin to focus this week on issuing second doses to residents who have already had their first dose under Phase 1B.
According to a Monday news release prior to notification of weather delays, state officials were projecting that weekly vaccine shipments from the federal government would hold steady for the rest of the month before increasing in early March.
Last week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that by Feb. 25, the state would expand vaccine eligibility under Phase 1B to people 16 and older with underlying health issues.
Pritzker said the decision came as the result of increased vaccine production at the federal level, as well as the pending approval of a new single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson that could receive emergency-use approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in a hearing set for Feb. 26.
In an Illinois Senate health committee hearing last week, IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said the state is averaging about 280,000 dose deliveries per week. Health officials told the committee that mass vaccination efforts could begin once the state reaches 900,000 dose deliveries per week.
The state will also begin distribution pilot programs at some state prisons this week. Inmates and prison workers are eligible to receive the vaccine under Phase 1B, along with front-line non-health-care essential workers and residents 65 and older.
An estimated 3.2 million residents are eligible to get the vaccine under Phase 1B. Eligible residents can search for a vaccination site closest to them and make an appointment at coronavirus.illinois.gov.