Community health centers must decide who to vaccinate first (LIVE UPDATES)

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Community health centers must decide who to vaccinate first

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Contracted by the city of Chicago to provide care for high-risk homeless there during the pandemic, Lawndale Christian Health Center set up a makeshift clinic at the Downtown Hotel 166. (L-R) Manager Tawana Freeman, medical assistant De’Angel Groves and manager Sandra Alvarado work inside the hotel.

With a second coronavirus vaccine arriving in states Monday, community health centers that have long filled the gap in hospital health care deserts nationwide are prepping for their turn at vaccinating clinical and other staff amid challenges of trust and prioritization.
In Illinois, an initial 109,000 doses of the first vaccine, Pfizer-BioNTech’s, was rolled out last week — 17,000 doses were distributed to hospitals by Friday, the remainder to be given out over the weekend.
But federally qualified health centers (FQHC), which replaced hospitals as they disappeared from rural and inner city communities, will be the real ground zero in the task of vaccinating disadvantaged communities.
Once the rationed doses are received, Lawndale Christian Health Center, 3860 W. Ogden, one of those FQHCs serving 60,000 Chicagoans in West Side North Lawndale, and others will face an equity dilemma that goes beyond race.
“One of the challenges is to try and figure out an equitable way to distribute the vaccine among staff, so we don’t make some mistakes we’ve made in the past, prioritizing only physicians and nurses,” said Dr. Wayne Detmer, chief clinical officer at
Read the full story from Maudlyne Ihejirika here.

News
2:07 p.m. State logs 4,669 new COVID-19 cases, 98 deaths
Illinois public health officials reported 4,669 new and probable cases of the coronavirus and 98 deaths Monday, the lowest total of new cases since late October.
As of Sunday night, 4,460 people who’ve tested positive for the virus are in hospitals around the state. Of that number, 981 COVID-positive patients were in intensive care units and 546 were on ventilators.
Statewide, 779 of the state’s 3,286 intensive care beds are available, according to state data. The state has 4,146 ventilators available out of 5,691.
On Oct. 27, the state logged 4,000 new cases in a day, which was the last time the state saw a new case count in that range.
Reporter Rachel Hinton has the full story.
12:43 p.m. EU greenlights COVID-19 vaccine after agency gives safety OK
The European Union on Monday gave official approval for the coronavirus vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer to be put onto the market across the 27-nation bloc.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the commission “took the decision to make available for European citizens the first COVID-19 vaccine. We granted conditional market authorization.”
The commission, the EU’s executive arm, gave the greenlight just hours after the European Medicines Agency said the shot meets safety and quality standards. Brussels had been expected to require two or three days to endorse the market authorization move.
Read the full story here.
10:17 a.m. Illinois surpasses 900,000 COVID-19 cases
State health officials on Sunday announced an additional 79 coronavirus-related deaths, snapping an unprecedented 12-day streak of Illinois reporting 100 or more deaths.
Though Sunday was the first time the state hadn’t recorded a three-digit daily death toll in almost two weeks, Illinois is still in the midst of its deadliest stretch of the pandemic, and it’s not unusual to see lower numbers on the weekends due to backlogged reporting.
This month, Illinois has logged nearly 3,000 coronavirus-related deaths, which is more than 19.4% of the state’s pandemic death toll of 15,202.
Half of Sunday’s 79 fatalities were reported in the Chicago area. The vast majority of those deaths reported statewide were among people 60 and older, with people under 60 accounting for six of Sunday’s total deaths.
Illinois also surpassed 900,000 coronavirus cases Sunday with state health officials announcing 6,003 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 infections.
Read the full story here.
8:11 a.m. Highlights of new COVID relief deal: Congress to vote on $300 jobless benefit, $600 direct payment and more PPP
House and Senate leaders on Sunday reached a deal on a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package with $600 stimulus checks and $300-a-week jobless benefits — but no direct payments to the city of Chicago or state of Illinois to help meet payrolls.
The lack of an agreement to help cash-starved local governments — not a surprise at this point — means Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Gov. J.B. Pritzker have tough choices ahead when it comes to taxes and layoffs.
After months of negotiations, Congress is expected to approve the measure this week.
If signed into law, this $900 billion measure will be the second largest stimulus in the nation’s history, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
The emergency $2.2 trillion federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act — known as the CARES Act — signed into law on March 27 was the biggest.
Lynn Sweet outlines the highlights of the deal here.

New Cases

State health officials on Sunday announced an additional 79 coronavirus-related deaths, snapping an unprecedented 12-day streak of Illinois reporting 100 or more deaths.
This month, Illinois has logged nearly 3,000 coronavirus-related deaths, which is more than 19.4% of the state’s pandemic death toll of 15,202.
Public health officials on Saturday announced 108 more Illinois residents have died of COVID-19, which has spread to an additional 7,562 residents.

Illinois surpassed 900,000 coronavirus cases Sunday with state health officials announcing 6,003 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 infections.

Analysis & Commentary
12:44 p.m. Move forward with reopening schools come January
The Chicago Teachers Union has tried twice to stop Chicago Public Schools from reopening in January — and has lost both times.
The latest failure came on Thursday, when the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board denied the union’s request for a preliminary injunction to halt the Jan. 4 return date for preschoolers and some special education students and staff. The union had accused CPS of violating labor law by refusing to negotiate in good faith over a safe reopening.
The loss is a huge blow to the CTU, which has been at a toxic stalemate with CPS for months over bringing students back to the classroom, even for hybrid learning that would have children in schools only part time.
But the decision comes as good news, in our view, to the families of 77,000 students who have opted to return to in-person instruction. Remote learning, it seems, is simply not cutting it for these children’s educational and social well-being.
Read the full editorial from the Sun-Times Editorial Board here.

8:02 a.m. Countdown to anti-vaccine backlash
Welcome to the Chicago Sun-Times Latin Lockdown Workshop. Please direct your attention to the chalkboard, where I’ve written: “Post hoc ergo propter hoc.”
In English: “After this, therefore because of this.” It’s what we pointy-heads call a “logical fallacy,” the faulty circuit that connects you to a wrong conclusion when two events occur close together.
I mention it now because the joy of getting millions of vaccines to millions of American arms will be quickly followed by a backlash of imaginary bad results. That isn’t a crystal ball prediction; it’s a take-it-to-the-bank certainty. With the exception of a few extremely rare allergic reactions, the most common vaccine side effect will be passing soreness. But some getting the vaccine will blame it for later being hit by a bus. Post hoc ergo propter hoc.
“With the vaccine, you’ve got to be careful when you hear side effects,” said Dr. Michael Ruchim, a gastroenterologist at Northwestern Medicine well-versed in pharmaceutical trials. “The question arises, ‘Are they cause and effect? Or something random the person getting the vaccine was going to get anyway?’”
Read Neil Steinberg’s full column here.

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