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Fearless Aging: Hold on, the COVID-19 vaccine is on the way

As vaccine supplies increase over the next few months, you will see additional information come out about how to get it

Elderwerks Educational Services, the nonprofit I’m president and founder of, is fielding many phone calls from older adults wanting to know when they will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccinations.

Just about everyone is anxious to receive the vaccine and move along with a more active life. Understandably the first phase of injections is being administered to “eligible personnel,” namely physicians, nurses, hospital technicians, pharmacists and paramedics.

These brave people, who have served on the front lines for more than nine months and care for individuals with COVID-19, need immediate protection from the daily danger they face.

Also in this first group is the staff and residents of skilled nursing, assisted living facilities, group homes for the developmentally disabled and other congregate care facilities throughout Illinois.

In a news conference held Wednesday, Gov. JB Pritzker said the next phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Illinois, Phase 1b, will include “frontline essential workers” and anyone over the age of 65, representing a total of 3.2 million more Illinois residents who would be eligible to get the vaccine.

At present, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with county health departments and regional health care providers to work through the logistics of distributing the vaccine within CDC guidelines.

As supplies increase over the next few months, you will see additional information published about vaccination availability at large pharmacy chains, hospitals and medical centers. Work also is underway to plan large vaccination clinics likely to be orchestrated through local health departments or townships.

We realize many people Elderwerks serves are within high-risk groups because of age and/or medical conditions. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines each require two injections to be fully effective. The second dose is given within 21 or 28 days, depending on the vaccine, and the provider of your injection will schedule the follow-up appointment when you receive the first dose.

Certainly, we understand the concern and frustration our clients are expressing. In the interim, we ask that you stay strong, keep social distancing and practicing hand hygiene until everyone can become vaccinated.

Additional details and a “frequently asked questions” section are available at the Illinois Department of Public Health website www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/vaccine-faq.