COVID-19 Vaccination Information
The best place to get the most up-to-date information on the city's COVID-19 vaccine rollout is on the City of Chicago's COVID-19 vaccination website.
COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall January 18
The 49th Ward is hosting a town hall on the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, January 18, at 5:30 pm. Dr. Luna from the Chicago Department of Public Health will join share information on the vaccine's efficacy and the city's vaccination rollout plan.
To register to attend the town hall, please visit bit.ly/49thwardcovidtownhall. Simultaneous translation into Spanish will be available.
How the mRNA Vaccine Works:
The approved COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not contain any live virus of COVID-19. Instead, scientists used the genetic sequence of the virus to create a blueprint of the COVID-19 virus. The virus will trigger the body to produce the spike protein in the COVID-19 virus, which will signal our immune systems to produce the proper antibodies and T cells to combat the RNA blueprint. This means that should an individual contract the COVID-19 virus after being inoculated, the body's immune system will already have stored the information necessary to combat the virus.
When people receive a vaccination, they might feel some side effects as their immune systems respond to the spike protein. The most common side effects include swelling and some pain at the injection site as well as fever, chills, headaches, and fatigue. These side effects are temporary and indicate that the immune system is imprinting its response to combat COVID-19.
COVID-19 Vaccination Roll-Out:
In December, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Pfizer and Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use.
At this time, the COVID-19 vaccine supply remains limited. The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is following CDC guidelines for the distribution of the vaccine. Based on this guidance, healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents and staff are prioritized to receive the vaccine first (phase 1a). CDPH anticipates vaccine distribution for people in phase 1a to continue through January and into February.
As more vaccines become available, frontline essential workers and individuals 65 years of age and older will begin to receive the vaccine (phase 1b). At this time, CDPH anticipates this phase will begin in late February/early March.
As vaccine supplies increase, the COVID-19 vaccine will be available through additional vaccination providers, including doctors' offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers. At this time, there is not a public registration for the COVID vaccine. As more details become available on vaccine clinics throughout the city, CDPH will update its COVID vaccine website page.
There has been some misinformation circulating online about the COVID-19 vaccine. Leading up to the pandemic, there have been decades of research on coronaviruses broadly. In January 2020, the genetic sequence for COVID-19 was released, which allowed researchers worldwide to begin working on a vaccine immediately.
Before a vaccine is introduced to the broad public, it goes through a rigorous trial process, including being tested in laboratories and on animals. These tests help scientists identify which candidate performs the best before introducing it to clinical trials on humans.
Once a vaccination candidate is introduced to human trials, it goes through three phases. During these phases, scientists identify any short-term side effects and risks and any relationship that exists between the dosage size a participant receives and the immune response. Scientists then compare participants in the human trials receiving a vaccine to those who are receiving a placebo.
At all stages, from the laboratory to the final third stage of human clinical trials, scientists are rigorously evaluating and documenting results. These results are then reviewed by Institutional Review Boards to ensure their scientific validity, the integrity of the trials, and to protect participants. The process is thorough to protect the greater public health from any adverse outcomes.
What This Means for Right Now:
The development and approval of the vaccination is an incredible milestone in our battle against this global pandemic. However, we are still several months away from achieving herd immunity. It is imperative that we continue social distance and wear a mask any time we leave our houses. Right now, those are the best tools we all have in our toolbox to combat this deadly virus.