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Family Affected By Sickle Cell Happy To Be In Next Round For COVID Vaccine, But Can’t Get It Anytime Soon – CBS Chicago


CHICAGO (CBS) — More than a million and a half doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have now been given out in Illinois, including more than 69,000 Wednesday alone.

Teams from FEMA will also help out with appointments at mass vaccination sites in Cook County.

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But a lack of vaccines is causing Cook County to shorten hours at the Tinley Park Convention Center, Triton College and South Suburban College. That shortage so serious that when Governor JB Pritzker announced an expansion of who is in group 1B, Cook County and Chicago said they can’t possibly do the same.

CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra looked into the reason why.

For those fighting cancer, living with COPD and other conditions, Governor Pritzker’s announcement means they’ll be eligible for the vaccine by the end of the month. But it will not apply to the largest county or city in the state of Illinois.

“Starting out when she was younger, Tiahna can have pain every day.”

You wouldn’t know it, in the smiling pictures TaLana Hughes shared, but her 18-year-old daughter Tiahna is battling sickle cell disease.

The Hughes’ commitment is more than personal. TaLana is Executive Director of Chicago’s Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois.

So imagine her joy Wednesday when Governor Pritzker announced it was one of 10 conditions in the expansion of vaccination phase 1B that could start in the state February 25th.

“To see that, with the expansion happening and actually including sickle cell disease, it’s exciting. It’s kind of a small win,” Hughes said.

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Small, because it’s not mandatory. It won’t apply to her daughter or anyone with those conditions living in Cook County or the city of Chicago.

“While other parts of the state may be ready to move to the next phase, Chicago and Cook County are not.”

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle along with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Thursday they’ve chosen not to do it, due to a lack of supply to meet the demand of what they believe is a million more people.

“We’re equally as frustrated as the community with the lack of vaccine,” Preckwinkle said. But we’ll continue to stand up sites to be able to immediately respond when there’s more vaccine available in the weeks and months ahead.”

“As an organization, we’ve already started some of those conversations.”

So the wait continues for the Hughes’ and their sickle cell community. But they’ll be ready as soon as they’re called.

“It’s exciting and we are extremely hopeful,” Hughes said.

Click here for a full list of conditions included in the expansion.

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People with disabilities are not mentioned on this list, but Governor Pritzker has said they will be prioritized and that the list is still subject to change, according to his office.

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