Two Federally Qualified Health Centers in the area are expected to receive increased cooperation from the State of Illinois in ongoing efforts to get COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of residents. Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced the expanded partnerships today while on tour of a facility in Chicago.
Pritzker says the expanded partnerships will direct vaccine from the state’s allocation to select Federally Qualified Health Centers beginning in March. Jacksonville’s Central Counties Health Centers and the Cass County Health Department in Virginia and Beardstown are both designated centers out of more than 100 locations in the state.
Pritzker says it will expand upon a current federal program to administer vaccines: “Beginning in March when we expect increased vaccine supply, Illinois will start providing a specific increased set aside of vaccine allocation for our Federally Qualified Health Centers as part of our continuing effort to reach those who may not have a primary care physician or who are most challenged when it comes to healthcare access. This is another step in my mission to weave equity into every one of our goals when it comes to the vaccine rollout.”
Federally Qualified Health Centers will begin directly receiving vaccine from the federal government. IDPH has been working with local health departments across the state to provide vaccine to 26 FQHCs and this new federal program will further expand those administering the vaccine. The FQHC’s work directly with individuals living at or below the federal poverty level.
Earlier this week, the governor also announced that the state will move to an expanded Phase 1b on February 25th, which will include individuals with underlying conditions and those with disabilities. The state is expected to roll out a new ad campaign at the end of this month encouraging people to get vaccinated when it is their turn.