1/25/21 - A Message from Secretary Hou: Vaccination Campaign Continues Across IDHS with Phase 1b

Dear Colleagues,

Building on the Governor's announcement on the Illinois' progress in administering the COVID-19 vaccine, the State continues Phase 1a (for health care workers and individuals in long-term care) and moves into the early stages of Phase 1b of the COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Plan beginning today, January 25.

The State is working diligently to build out provider capacity to ensure efficient distribution. Illinois remains committed to distributing the vaccine in an equitable, accessible way in part of Phase 1b, all residents over the age of 65 and frontline essential workers can receive the vaccine. We know that some of IDHS's own workforce including FCRC staff, the staff of our DRS local offices, our investigators, and our surveyors will qualify for vaccination under this phase and we are working to provide you with more information about vaccination options.

Maximizing vaccination in the State of Illinois is a top priority of Governor JB Pritzker, who knows that vaccination is the best way for our state to defeat COVID-19 and return our lives back to normal. While the Governor is waiting for his own turn to get vaccinated, he recently took IDHS' vaccination pledge where he emphasized his commitment to vaccinating as soon as he is eligible.

Day after day, we are seeing our frontline health care workers continue to get vaccinated. Medical experts say the vaccine is safe and remains the best action to fight COVID-19. Across our 24/7 facilities, we have vaccinated a total of 3,074 staff, residents, and patients. This is incredible news and a successful start to what we believe is a significant turning point in the fight against COVID-19.

It is more important than ever that we do everything we can to stop the spread of COVID-19. As you may know, we recently passed a grim milestone with 400,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19. Across the U.S. we are seeing nearly 150,000 new cases per day and over 5,000 new cases daily in Illinois.

I am asking you all to help yourself, one another, and take the IDHS Vaccination pledge. Get vaccinated when you can, continue to wear a mask and social distance. Take good care.



Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS