Hospital employees and local paramedics will be the first to receive COVID-19 vaccines from the village of Oak Park under a program shared Monday by Village Manager Cara Pavlicek with the village board.
As a certified public health department, the village received approval Nov. 27 from the state to provide COVID-19 vaccinations. Pavlicek said staff feels “fairly confident” that the village would receive an initial allocation of vaccinations in mid-December.
Front line personnel, including hospital employees, will be the first to receive the vaccination.
“Another group that can receive those initial vaccines are paramedics,” said Pavlicek. “The village does employ paramedics so we will also have a process for vaccination of paramedics.”
The COVID-19 vaccinations are completely optional.
“While it seems odd to think of it like offering a flu vaccination to your work force, that’s how we’re approaching it,” said Pavlicek. “But obviously with a lot more seriousness.”
Pavlicek believes the initial round of vaccinations will be two-dose vaccines and that every allotment the village receives will include the second dose.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as a “planning committee under the CDC,” are providing guidance for a “three-tiered system” to vaccinate individuals in the country, said Pavlicek.
“Predominantly that results in the CDC providing vaccinations, once emergency use authorizations are provided by the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration], to state governments,” said Pavlicek.
The states will then distribute the vaccinations to authorized providers, said Pavlicek.
Residents living in nursing homes will not be vaccinated through the village but through “federal and statewide agreements with pharmaceutical companies.”
“Nursing homes will also be vaccinated directly,” said Pavlicek. “We will neither receive their shipment of vaccinations nor deliver those vaccinations.”
As for the people who are not hospital workers, paramedics or nursing home residents, when they will receive COVID-19 vaccines is not yet determined.
“Probably right after the first of the year, we’ll be able to provide a little bit better guidance on how the public will be vaccinated,” said Pavlicek
Pavlicek also said it was important to consider age and underlying health conditions when determining the order in which members of the public receive vaccines, so don’t throw away those masks yet.
“This is going to take a process, but I have great confidence in our health department staff,” said Pavlicek.