State seeks vendor for COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan


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By Greg Bishop | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – The state of Illinois is requesting proposals from the private sector to help in the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine.

How much the program will cost is not yet known.

In a procurement announcement issued Monday, Illinois Department of Public Health Deputy Director for Finance and Administration and CFO Vicki Wilson said the state is “seeking a vendor to assist with planning, logistical operations and quality improvement services for Statewide COVID-19 mass vaccination activities.”

“The immunization of State residents with a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is a critical component of the United States’ strategy to reduce COVID-19 related illness, hospitalizations, and deaths and to help restore societal functioning,” Wilson said in the announcement. “Illinois is required by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to plan for and operationalize a vaccination response to COVID-19 within Illinois in line with their COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations.”

The goal of the RFP is to award a contract Nov. 30.

As to the cost, the request calls for a “fair price.”

“If the State does not consider the price to be fair and reasonable and negotiations fail to meet an acceptable price, the State reserves the right to cancel the award and take appropriate action to meet the needs of the State,” the procurement states. “The State determines whether the price is fair and reasonable by considering the proposal, including the vendor’s qualifications, the vendor’s reputation, all prices submitted, other known prices, the project budget, and other relevant factors.”

After news Monday that pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced its COVID-19 vaccine was “more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants” in Phase 3 of its study, Gov. J.B. Pritzker was asked his thoughts.

“As I’ve said all along we’re not going to distribute a vaccine that we don’t know is safe,” Pritzker said.

During a situation update in September with local stakeholders across the state, Illinois Department of Public Health’s Dr. Carla Little said initial vaccine supplies will be limited, and the focus will be on a priority group like health care workers and long term care facilities.

“We’re not sure exactly what we will receive when we receive it but expect it to be one of these types,” Little said.

Supplies could be available as early as next month, with even more throughout 2021. But, Little said there could be less demand.

“As we did during the H1N1 response, for those of us that were around to remember it, at some point we had so much vaccine available and the demand for it became really low,” Little said. “So we may see something similar here as well.”


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