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COVID-19 Vaccine Updates

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has developed a vaccine plan, following initial guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That plan currently prioritizes vaccine availability into different phases:

  • Phase 1(a)
    • Healthcare workers
    • Long-term care residents and staff
  • Phase 1(b)
    • Individuals > 64
    • Frontline essential workers
  • Phase 1(c)
    • Those with high-risk medical conditions
    • Other essential workers
  • Phase 2
    • All other individuals

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Northwestern be administering or distributing the vaccine directly to students, faculty, and staff?

Based on our initial conversations with state and local departments of public health, it is our understanding that vaccine distribution will be managed by public health through at least Phase 1(c). Vaccination sites will be determined by IDPH. It is unclear whether Northwestern University will be able to distribute the vaccine directly to our community at some point in the future.

Will Northwestern require the vaccine in order for faculty and staff to come to campus?

No decisions about vaccine requirements have been made at this time.

I thought Phase 1(b) was focused on individuals over the age of 75, not 65?

The week of January 4th, the state of Illinois announced that it would adjust the ages for Phase 1(b) down to 65 years old.

Do frontline essential workers include everyone who works for Northwestern?

The IL vaccine plan notes that frontline essential workers include those working in education, including “teachers and support staff.” We expect further guidance will come on this soon.

Why have some faculty, staff, and students already been vaccinated by Northwestern Medicine, while others have not?

Certain members of the Northwestern University community, given their exposure to healthcare settings, will be included in Northwestern Medicine’s vaccination plan. For now, their focus remains on individuals considered in Phase 1(a).

Will Northwestern play a role in prioritizing who gets access to the vaccine first?

So far, Northwestern has not been asked by public health to prioritize who in its community should be prioritized for vaccination. An internal group is working to identify which faculty, staff, and students should be prioritized, in the event we are asked for that information.

When will all members of the community have access to the vaccine, if they want it?

We don’t know yet, but we expect the vaccine will be more widely available in the coming months.