Week in Review: Saturday, December 19, 2020

Sharing some news you can use as well as some stories you may have missed this past week:

Illinois has four-phase plan to distribute COVID-19 vaccines

Illinoisans will have access to COVID-19 vaccines based on federal guidelines, according to an Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) plan that has a four-phase approach to distribution.

The first shipment of the vaccines arrived December 14 at regional distribution centers in Illinois.

State health officials caution that the plan is subject to change, however, as conditions change relating to the status of COVID-19 cases within Illinois, or if the federal government issues additional guidelines.

The initial supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses available is limited, so first efforts will be focused on making it available to critical populations, and ensuring that storage, distribution and reporting systems are sufficient and operational.

In Phase 1, those groups expected to receive first vaccines are healthcare personnel and residents of long-term-care facilities.

Pending further recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a committee within the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, other initial groups could include essential frontline workers, adults with high-risk medical conditions, and those older than 65.

In Phase 2, as more vaccine doses become available, the focus will be on ensuring access to vaccine for members of Phase 1 critical populations not yet vaccinated, then extending efforts to reach Phase 2 critical populations. Pending further recommendations by ACIP, possible Phase 2 groups could include workers in industries and occupations important to the functioning of society, and people with moderate comorbid conditions.

In Phase 3, as vaccines are even more widely available, and pending further ACIP recommendations, possible groups could include children, if a pediatric vaccine is approved/available; and young adults (ages 18-30).

In Phase 4, with the supply of vaccine doses available for the entire state, and pending further ACIP recommendations, the focus will be on everyone who is qualified and who wants a COVID-19 vaccine.

Check https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19/vaccination-plan for more information about the IDPH’s COVID-19 Vaccination Preparedness Plan, as well as answers to frequently asked questions about the plan.

IDNR, ICF announce grant opportunities

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) have announced anticipated application deadlines for competitive grant programs for the 2021 calendar year.

Grant program goals vary by program and include natural resource protection, management, and enhancement; recreational amenity and open space acquisition and development; museum capital improvement; and, environmental education. Eligible applicants vary by program and may include local governments, non-profits, universities, and individuals.

To apply for ICF grants, visit https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/education/Pages/grants.aspx

For information on IDNR grant programs, visit the IDNR Grants website at https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/grants/Pages/default.aspx

Savanna Community Blood Drive

I am again co-hosting the annual Savanna Community Blood Drive with the City of Savanna on Monday, December 28th from 10:00am-2:00pm at the Savanna Fire Department Truck Bay, 101 Main Street, Savanna.

“This drive would never be as successful as it has been without the incredible support of the Savanna community. Year after year, the community steps up to the call for blood donations which go toward helping to save lives.  We are grateful for those who respond to the constant need for blood donations and especially during this time of critical need due to the pandemic.

For an appointment to donate, please call the Red Cross at 815-632-7384 or go to redcross.org. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome.  Donors to the drive will also receive a free gift- an exclusive Red Cross long-sleeved t-shirt (while supplies last).

The winter months can be among the most challenging times of year for the Red Cross to collect enough blood donations.  Many donors are busy with holiday activities, and inclement weather can force the cancellation of blood drives.  Additionally, some donors become temporarily ineligible because of seasonal illnesses.

Blood donors of all types, especially types O negative, A negative and B negative, and platelet donors are urgently needed to give now to avoid delays in lifesaving medical care for patients.

The American Red Cross is testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. As part of that effort, plasma from whole blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions.

How to Donate: Simply download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Are you fully recovered from a verified COVID-19 diagnosis? If so, the plasma in your blood may contain COVID-19 antibodies that can attack the virus. This convalescent plasma is being evaluated as a possible treatment for currently ill COVID-19 patients, so your donation could help save the lives of patients battling this disease.  Learn more at:


As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office about any issues with state agencies or programs.