Village officials have put months of preparation into action now that COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed.
The Oak Park Department of Public Health has been designated a COVID-19 vaccine provider and is receiving doses directly from the state.
Limited supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine meant that allocation priorities were set by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Healthcare workers at Oak Park hospitals and residents of long-term care facilities were prioritized to receive the first allocations of vaccine.
As more vaccine becomes available, additional priority groups such as first responders and individuals at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness will be designated to receive the vaccine.
Eventually, the vaccine will be offered to all residents who want it.
As more vaccine doses become available in the coming weeks and months, the Village will announce plans for vaccinating priority groups and eventually all residents. The latest information will be posted online at www.oak-park.us/covidvaccination.
Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to prevent contracting the virus, public health officials say. Vaccination also may protect others around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from the virus.
While receiving the COVID-19 vaccine will not be mandatory, the vaccine is seen as a critical tool for ending the pandemic. Residents are urged to get vaccinated when it becomes available.
Health officials understand that some residents may be concerned about getting vaccinated, but say no steps were skipped during the clinical trials and procedures have remained in place to ensure any vaccine that is approved for use is safe.
Even as optimism rises with the arrival of initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccine, public health officials say mitigation measures such as wearing masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing will continue to be essential for all residents well into the foreseeable future.
For the latest local information on COVID-19, visit www.oak-park.us/covid19.