In the year since the first case of COVID-19 was discovered in Illinois, the residents of our state’s long-term care facilities have been hard-hit by the virus, resulting in thousands of deaths and forced isolation from families and friends.
These facility residents, along with every Illinoisan, received a glimmer of hope for the possible return to normalcy as the first vaccines were given out on Dec. 15. However, a month later, it seems the state has failed these residents.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, of the 537,050 doses of vaccines available and allotted to the state’s long-term care facilities, only approximately 20 percent of them have been administered to its residents—a population that makes up nearly half of COVID-related deaths.
Additionally, according to the latest data from the New York Times, Illinois ranks 47th in overall vaccine distribution, with just 4.8 percent of Illinoisans receiving at least one shot. The state is last compared to its sister states of Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and California.
Senate Republicans say these staggering numbers are unacceptable. Since the beginning of this pandemic, the Pritzker Administration has taken a go-it-alone approach when it comes to the handling of this virus. Now is the time for Gov. J.B. Pritzker to provide the citizens of Illinois a clear explanation as to why his vaccination program has placed Illinois among the worst states when it comes to getting vaccines to the people who need it most.