The hospital was chosen because of the care it has provided communities hardest hit by the virus.
Five healthcare workers were the first to get vaccinated. Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Alison Arwady said five people were getting inoculated at the same time because each vial contains five vaccine doses.
WATCH: 1st COVID-19 vaccines in Chicago adminisered
Late Monday night, Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted photos of the vaccine’s arrival in the city. Those doses will be distribute to Chicago’s 34 hospitals, including Loretto in the Austin neighborhood, where the COVID-19 death rate is more than 60 percent higher than the citywide average.
“This is truly an incredibly exciting day for all of us,” Mayor Lightfoot said. “What we just witnessed is history in the making. It is a milestone in our city’s history. I said to each of the pairs of vaccinators and the their patients that they are forever now part of history in the city of Chicago.”
Loretto was the first hospital in the city at 10:30 a.m. to begin inoculating its staff.
Dr. Marina Del Rios, an emergency physician at UIUC, was the first to get the vaccine.
“This vaccine gives us some hope that there is an endpoint, there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Dr. Rios said.
1st COVID-19 vaccine recipient in Chicago speaks after inoculation
The mayor says widespread distribution is still months away and is still cautioning people to wear masks and not to let their guard down.
Because of the Pfizer vaccine’s ultra-cold storage requirement and limited time between thawing and injection, hospitals have carefully crafted rollout plans, intended to prevent waste and any disruptions in patient care.
You have to think about the potential for those side effects, so maybe you wouldn’t take everybody on your COVID floor and do them all at that same time,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.
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