- COVID-19 Vaccination Information Overview
- COVID-19 Vaccine Pre-Registration
- Vaccine Appointment Information
- Vaccine Availability
- Vaccine Requirements/Mandates
- Vaccine Safety
- Other Vaccine Info
COVID-19 Vaccine Update - January 24, 2021
COVID-19 Vaccination Pre-Registration is Open for Skokie Residents!
Skokie Health and Human Services Department Administering the COVID-19 Vaccine
The Skokie Health and Human Services Department accepted their first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine on December 17, 2020. The vaccine was promptly delivered to NorthShore University HealthSystem and was administered to Skokie Hospital’s frontline healthcare workers. The Skokie Health and Human Services Department is working with numerous community partners to ensure that the Village’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics, which are now open for healthcare workers in priority group 1A, run smoothly to best serve the community.
As vaccine supplies increase in the coming weeks, it will be allocated to additional identified priority groups, and the general public in Skokie. In each phase, once the priority groups have been satisfactorily reached, vaccine administration planning can then focus on reaching the next priority group and/or the general population where the overarching goal is to elicit herd immunity. More information on the State of Illinois’ “phased approach” to vaccine distribution and administration can be found on the State of Illinois’ SARS CoV2/COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Planning website.
Because the Village of Skokie has one of only four State-certified health departments in Illinois, Skokie residents will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a Skokie location instead of having to go to a clinic somewhere else in Cook County. Proof of Skokie residency will be required. The Skokie Health and Human Services Department staff, with support from all Village departments, is working diligently to prepare for these public vaccination clinics that will be opened as soon as sufficient vaccine supplies are available. See pre-registration information at the top of this page. Updates on how to register, dates and times will be shared when available via SkokieNews, the Village's electronic newsletter (subscribe here) and the Village website. For decades, the Skokie Health Department has conducted community flu vaccination clinics. During the H1N1 health crisis in 2009, the Skokie Health Department was one of the first local health departments to receive vaccines, and Health Department staff coordinated a series of vaccination clinics to administer some 40,000 doses of the vaccine.
During his December 23, 2020 press briefing, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker responded to a question about how long it would take to vaccinate all individuals in the highest priority groups,1a, which encompasses 810,000 eligible individuals and 1b, which includes more than one million eligible Illinois citizens. Governor Pritzker stated that how quickly the State of Illinois completes Phase 1a is dependent on the number of vaccines Illinois receives from the federal distribution, noting that during the initial week the Pfizer vaccine was available, Illinois received just over 100,000 doses. Vaccine shipments are expected to steadily increase now that the Moderna vaccine has been approved, and the pace of vaccinations should only increase over time.
The public is advised to continue to take precautions to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19. The 3 W’s are: Wear a mask, Wash your hands and Watch your social distance. Avoid social gatherings and get tested if you think you have been exposed.
COVID-19 Vaccination Pre-Registration is Open for Skokie Residents!
Week of January 25, 2021 - all appointments offered to Skokie residents and healthcare workers in Phases 1A and 1B are filled. More appointments will be released when additional vaccine supplies become available, which is expected on or before February 1, 2021.
Skokie residents who have pre-registered for the Skokie Health and Human Services Department COVID-19 vaccine clinics will receive an email when it is time for them to register for a free vaccine appointment based on their priority group as established by the Illinois Department of Public Health (senior citizens age 65 or older, essential frontline workers, younger adults with an underlying health condition, etc.). For more information on these phases, click here.
Pre-registered Skokie residents, watch for an email with a link to the vaccine appointment portal!
When it is time for you to make your vaccine appointment, you will receive an email from the Village with a link to the vaccination appointment portal. Appointments are limited and will book quickly! If you are unable to make an appointment when you receive the initial email, please watch for similar emails in the following weeks. Vaccination clinic appointments are being sent based on the order in which individuals pre-registered, their priority group and when vaccine supplies are received - which is unpredictable.
What if you pre-registered and haven't received an email?
If you or your loved one have pre-registered with the Village in the 1B or later phases and have not received an email, know you are still in the system and will receive an email in the coming weeks. Due to the limited supply of the vaccine, additional emails will be sent as clinic appointments and vaccines become available.
Q. When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
A. The Village has limited vaccine and is currently vaccinating priority groups 1A and 1B.
The Village will be following the State of Illinois COVID-19 Vaccination Plan’s phased approach and timeline. Due to changing vaccine supply levels at various points during the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, planning will be subject to change. Timelines represented below are best estimates and will be updated regularly. To determine which phase you qualify for please visit the State of Illinois Vaccination website.
From the State of Illinois:
Phase 1: Limited and/or scarce supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses are available. Initial efforts focus on reaching critical populations. Ensure vaccination locations selected can reach populations, manage cold-chain requirements, and meet reporting requirements for vaccine supply and uptake. Vaccine administration strategies in Phase 1 are divided into three sub-phases:
- January to February 2021. Phase 1a: Healthcare Personnel, long-term care facility residents and staff, Village staff and volunteers supporting the Village’s vaccine clinics.
- February to March 2021. Phase 1b: Persons aged 65 years and older, frontline essential workers (as defined by ACIP and directed by the State of Illinois), pre-school, school and daycare workers, group homes.
- February to March 2021. Phase 1c: Persons aged 16 to 64 years old with high-risk medical conditions, Other essential workers (as defined by ACIP and directed by the State of Illinois), anyone from tiers 1a and 1b who were missed.
Phase 2: Larger number of vaccines are available. Late March 2021 – Fall 2021. The focus is on ensuring access to vaccine for members of Phase 1 critical populations not yet vaccinated and extend efforts to reach Phase 2 critical populations. Possible groups could include, pending additional ACIP recommendations. Possible groups could include the rest of the population.
Q. Can I pre-register to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes! All Skokie residents age 18 and over, and healthcare workers employed at a Skokie healthcare provider, are invited to pre-register to receive a future notification from the Village's Health and Human Services Department when they qualify to make a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.
Q. Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
A. The Skokie Health and Human Services Department will be opening up a large COVID-19 vaccination clinic for Skokie residents at 7770 Frontage Road, Skokie. The clinic will resemble a larger version of Skokie’s yearly flu clinics. Updates regarding the Skokie clinic location, clinic dates and how to register will be posted on the Village’s COVID-19 webpage. The State of Illinois Plan is for vaccine to be administered through local health departments first, but it is expected that as more vaccine is available, healthcare providers such as private doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) will play a vital role in vaccinating the public.
Residents of Skokie’s long-term-care facilities will be vaccinated through a federal pharmacy program directly. Long-term-care facilities include skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities where most individuals are over 65 years of age.
Q. Do I have to be a Skokie resident to register for the Village of Skokie COVID-19 vaccination clinics?
A. Yes, you must be a Skokie resident to register and proof of residency will be required. There are a few exceptions to having to be a Skokie resident, including healthcare workers employed in Skokie or educators working at Skokie schools.
Q. I understand the COVID-19 vaccine requires two shots. Why, and what if I am unable (or do not want) to get a second shot?
A. The currently available COVID-19 vaccines require two shots to be fully effective. This helps make sure that enough antibodies are being produced to provide effective and long-lasting protection. We do not know if receiving only one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is protective. If you choose not to get a second dose, you may reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine. The first dose of the vaccine will provide some protection, but the recommendation is to receive two doses to be protected as intended.
Q. How much will the COVID-19 vaccine cost me? Is it covered by my insurance?
A. The Village of Skokie will not charge for the vaccine at its clinics for Skokie residents. When the vaccine is readily available, vaccination providers such as certain primary care healthcare providers or pharmacies will be vaccinating people and will be able to charge an administration fee for giving the shot. Vaccine providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration at the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Q. My family member was offered a vaccine through their employer. Why can’t the rest of my family get the vaccine?
A. Because vaccine will be very limited when it first comes out, administration will be limited to those identified in priority groups by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the CDC. This is to ensure that all individuals in the high-risk groups are able to receive the vaccine. As more vaccine becomes available, those groups eligible to receive the vaccine will expand.
Q. Different COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be available. Which vaccine should I take?
A. Any COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to be effective. Available data suggests that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are very similar in their abilities to produce immunity to the virus. The recommendation would be to take whatever vaccine is made available to you and be sure to receive the booster shot of that same vaccine at the appropriate interval. If you choose not to get a second dose, you may reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Q. What happens if they run out of the vaccine before I get my second shot?
A. The Centers for Disease Control is structuring vaccine shipments in such a way that 21 or 28 days after the first shipment, the same number of doses will be shipped, so providers will have enough vaccine for a second dose. The 21- or 28-day requirement between doses is a minimum requirement, not a maximum. If for some reason, you are unable to receive the second dose at the recommended interval, you can receive the second dose at a later date.
Q. Do I have to get a COVID-19 vaccine?
A. There is no federal or state mandate to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC recommends the vaccine to all Americans age 16 and over.
Q. Can my employer require that I receive a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to work?
A. Decisions regarding immunization at private workplaces are up to the employer.
Q. Are schools requiring students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, similar to mumps and measles? Will restrictions be placed on my child if we refuse to vaccinate?
A. There is no requirement for students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this time. Currently, a pediatric vaccine is not available, and it may be some time before one is approved and becomes available.
Q. What happens if I refuse to get vaccinated for COVID-19?
A. There are no legal repercussions (such as fines, sanctions or punishments) for refusing the vaccine. If you do not get vaccinated, you will not be protected against the virus that causes COVID-19 and will be more likely to be infected with the virus. Additionally, you will be at risk of transmitting this deadly virus to loved ones and other community members.
Q. Do I need a vaccine if I have already had COVID-19?
A. Yes, people who have already had COVID-19 should plan to take the COVID-19 vaccine, because the science is currently inconclusive as to whether you will be naturally protected from a second COVID-19 infection in the future. The CDC currently suggests that if you were infected with COVID-19 during the previous 90 days, it is likely that you still have immune protection and that you will be asked to wait to receive your vaccine to allow others to be vaccinated first.
Q. Do I have to get both the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine?
A. A seasonal flu vaccine will not protect you from COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccine will not protect you from the flu. Being infected with both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time could lead to a more severe illness, which is why it is more important now than ever to get the flu vaccine.
Q. Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
A. The U.S. vaccine safety system is a deliberate and multi-phase process to ensure all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority. Vaccine candidates conduct clinical trials with many thousands of study participants to generate scientific data and other information for the FDA to determine their safety and effectiveness.
If the FDA determines a vaccine meets its safety and effectiveness standards, it can make these vaccines available for use in the U.S. by approval or Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). After the FDA makes its determination, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will review the available data in order to make vaccine recommendations to the CDC. ACIP will then recommend vaccine use. After a vaccine is authorized or approved for use, vaccine safety monitoring systems will watch for adverse events (possible side effects). CDC is working to expand safety surveillance through new systems and additional information sources, as well as enhancing existing safety monitoring systems.
Q: How was the COVID-19 vaccine studied?
A: Each authorized COVID-19 vaccine has been studied in large trials of over 30,000 volunteers and shown to be highly effective in preventing COVID-19 disease. The trials involved people of different ages, sex, race/ethnicity, weight and medical conditions.
Pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems were excluded from the COVID-19 vaccine trials, and so the currently available studies do not provide direct information about vaccine safety and effectiveness in these groups of people. The CDC recommends that those who are pregnant consult with their doctor before taking the vaccine.
Q. Can the COVID-19 vaccine cause me to become infected or infect others?
A. No, you cannot become infected or infect others from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, because the vaccine contains no live virus. Instead, the vaccine directs your body to produce a protein that teaches your body how to fight off the virus.
Q. How long will it take for COVID-19 vaccines to take effect?
A. The COVID-19 vaccine is expected to provide some protection a couple of weeks after your first shot and reaches its greatest effectiveness after your second shot. It is very important to take the second shot within the recommended time period for maximum vaccine effectiveness.
Q. What have the COVID-19 vaccine trials revealed?
A. Through their respective clinical trials, Pfizer and Moderna have indicated their vaccines are approximately 95% effective.
Information gathered through clinical trials becomes public in the course of the EUA submission. Once the EUA is submitted, these documents become accessible by the public through the FDA.
Q. Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant?
A. The CDC recommends that those who are pregnant consult with their doctor before taking the vaccine. Pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems were excluded from the COVID-19 vaccine trials, and so the currently available studies do not provide direct information about vaccine safety and effectiveness in these groups of people.
Q. Can children get a COVID-19 vaccine?
A. Currently, a pediatric vaccine is not available, and it may be some time before one is approved and becomes available. Clinical trials need to be conducted with children before determining if the existing COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for them. The Moderna vaccine is currently approved for persons 18 and older and Pfizer is approved for persons 16 and older.
Q. Will youth with high risk conditions be included in any of the phases?
A. The availability of a vaccine for youth under 16 years of age will depend on the availability of a pediatric vaccine. Clinical trials need to be conducted with children before determining if the existing COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for them.
Q. When injected with the vaccine, am I being injected with COVID-19?
A. No, you are not being injected with the virus that causes COVID-19. None of the early COVID-19 vaccines tested in the U.S. use a live virus that causes COVID-19. The goal for each vaccine is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and to fight the virus that causes COVID-19. At this time, the vaccines closest to receiving approval are mRNA - messenger ribonucleic acid - vaccines. Like other vaccines, mRNA vaccines work by training the immune system to recognize a virus threat and begin producing antibodies to protect itself.
Q. After getting a flu shot, I always get the flu. Will the COVID-19 vaccine cause me to get COVID-19?
A. No, you cannot become infected, or infect others, from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, because the vaccine contains no live virus. Instead, the vaccine directs your body to produce a protein that teaches your body how to fight off the virus. Some people develop flu-like symptoms, such as mild fever and muscle aches, after getting a flu vaccination. These symptoms are not the same as having influenza.
Q. I have allergies. Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for me?
A. While serious allergic reactions were not seen in vaccine clinical trials of thousands of patients, rare allergic reactions to vaccines are possible. If you have a history of serious allergic reactions, you should discuss your situation with your healthcare provider. The current COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any animal products such as eggs, preservatives, antibiotics or natural rubber latex.
Q. What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
A. Some people may experience side effects, which are a part of the normal immune response to a vaccine. The majority of the side effects, while not seen in every individual, are signs that your body is recognizing the vaccine and mounting an immune response. Based on prior studies, side effects may include pain, redness and swelling at the site of the injection as well as fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, nausea, malaise and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms may occur within two days after the shot and last one to two days. Side effects may be more frequent after the second shot (booster) and less frequent among older adults
Long-term side effects are unknown, although most vaccines do not have long-term side effects. Vaccine studies are ongoing and will continue to monitor and watch for adverse events.
Q. It took four years to develop the mumps vaccine, how can the COVID-19 vaccine be safe and thoroughly tested so quickly?
A. Many things helped this vaccine get developed so rapidly. First, development of the COVID-19 vaccine began many years ago in researching for a vaccine to protect against Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), both of which are caused by coronaviruses. This research assisted with the fast development of the COVID-19 vaccine. Significant resources were invested to fund the research and clinical trials, accelerating timelines greatly. Joining existing trial sites instead of developing new sites was a time saver. The virus has a good vaccination target and relatively low mutation rate. Additionally, the amount of infection in the communities allowed scientists to quickly compare vaccinated to unvaccinated populations and conclusively shows the vaccine worked. Last, but not least, are the huge number of brave volunteers willing to try the “novel” vaccines during the clinical trials.
Q. How long will the vaccine protect me from COVID-19? Will this be an annual vaccination, like the flu?
A. We are still learning about length of immunity. To determine how long protection lasts, follow-up studies are required to detect levels of both types of immune responses – antibody and T cell – as well as any repeated exposure risks. As more information becomes available, more information will be shared on the length of immunity.
Q. Can I get COVID-19 after the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?
A. Although the first dose of vaccine offers some immunity, you will still be considered susceptible to COVID-19. The first dose of the vaccine will provide some protection, but the recommendation is to receive two doses to be protected as intended. Pfizer and Moderna have indicated their vaccines are approximately 95% effective.
Q. All the research indicates that I am at high risk for contracting COVID-19, yet I am not considered eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. How is that fair?
A. The vaccine manufacturers, CDC, the State of Illinois and the Village of Skokie are all committed to getting the vaccine to everyone as soon as possible. ACIP is a group of medical and public health experts that develop recommendations on how to use vaccines to control diseases in the U.S. ACIP decides on vaccine prioritization recommendations by reviewing the FDA information, clinical trial data, and other information. Initially, the limited supply of vaccine will only be available to those determined to be most at risk of exposure to COVID-19. As the vaccine supply increases, more people will be added to those prioritized until it is available to the adult population at large.
Q. Is this COVID-19 vaccine preservative free?
A. Yes. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that are being offered first are preservative free.
Q. How does the COVID-19 vaccine cause my body to be protected?
A. Your immune system makes antibodies to fight infections. The COVID-19 vaccine causes your body to make antibodies that target the COVID-19 virus. In the event that your body is exposed to the actual COVID-19 virus, the new antibodies prevent infection.
Q. Is a COVID-19 vaccine a guarantee that I will not get the virus?
A. Like any vaccine, there is no guarantee that you won’t get the virus, but early indications are the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 94%-95% effective in protecting against COVID-19, and other vaccines under development have shown to be 90% or more effective.
Q. How many people need to get the COVID-19 vaccine to have herd immunity to COVID-19?
A. The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease. Experts do not know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19.
Q. What are the COVID-19 vaccine recommendations for children under age 16?
A. Until more studies are completed, a vaccine for children under 16 is not expected to be available in the immediate future.
Q. If I get the COVID-19 vaccine, can I quit wearing a mask?
A. No. While the COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective, it not 100% effective. Until the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled, people who receive the vaccine need to continue following Illinois Department of Public Health guidance such as the use of facemasks, social distancing, and regular hand washing. This protects you as well as your family and community.
Q: When will masking and social distancing be able to end, allowing us to get back to normal life?
A: Given the time it takes to get large quantities of the vaccine produced and distributed, we will need to continue our current mitigation practices for some time. It will remain important that vaccinated people continue to wear masks, practice social distancing and good hand hygiene to help prevent spread. Community infection rates will be continuously monitored and will be used to guide the decision process.
Additional information on the COVID-19 vaccine can be found here: