SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS/WRSP) — Health experts are making big strides towards distributing COVID-19 vaccines to the public.
Sangamon County Department of Public Health Director Gail O'Neill said COVID-19 vaccines could be in Central Illinois as early as spring.
O'Neill said local hospital staff will be the first in line to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
She said those who are high risk, like the elderly, and those with health conditions will be right behind them.
"The beginning of the distribution will be to healthcare workers, try to keep them on their feet and working to help us," O'Neill said. "Then, there will probably be some high-risk groups that are identified, so I don't think it going to be available to everyone right away."
Dr. Vidya Sundareshan at SIU School of Medicine said some of the vaccines need to be stored at a certain temperature and they are still working out the logistics.
"You need a special type of a freezer for that low of a temperature," Sundareshan said. "The health department does have that freezer for -80 degrees and they're looking into how to store it."
She said every vaccine distributed will be tracked by the state through a system called I-CARE.
Sundareshan said these COVID-19 vaccines have been heavily trialed and she believes they are safe.
"We are able to get data really quickly and we have hardly seen any serious adverse effects," Sundareshan said.
Sundareshan said the studies for two of the vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer, were heavily trialed by a diverse group of patients.
She said we can expect COVID-19 vaccines in Springfield as early as February.