* In order to become a state licensed health care worker, you must submit information to IDFPR for a background check including your fingerprints. So, this is just totally bizarre because the doctors have already done it…
A Chicago physicians group has asked the governor’s office to waive requirements that mandate fingerprinting and background checks for licensed health care workers before they can volunteer at mass vaccination sites, according to a letter sent to the office on Friday.
* It turns out, this is a local roadblock…
In the letter addressed to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the Chicago Medical Society said the requirements, set by local governments, are unnecessary for health care workers who are already licensed and in good standing in Illinois, and instead act as barriers for the workers who are trying to lend a hand in the vaccination effort.
“I’m writing to express our concern about the requirement that licensed physicians and nurses need to be fingerprinted and have their backgrounds checked before administering COVID-19 vaccines at mass vaccination centers,” read the letter, signed by the medical society’s president, Dr. Tariq Butt, on behalf of about 17,000 area physicians. […]
But [Dr. Vishnu Chundi, chair of the Chicago Medical Society’s COVID-19 task force] said some volunteers who have tried to volunteer at state sites have been asked by local health departments to go through a cumbersome background check process that is time consuming for doctors and nurses who are already stretched thin.
The Chicago Medical Society says it has over a thousand volunteers who have offered to inoculate people in the collar counties, but the suburbs don’t want those certified doctors (mainly emergency room physicians) unless they redo their cumbersome background checks and submit new fingerprints.
It’s being portrayed as a liability issue. But it sounds like the suburbs have significant barriers against “outsiders” coming in, even if they’re already approved by the state.
Dr. Chundi told me that “each little [home rule] jurisdiction has fashioned its own rules,” and have “made it as hard as possible to go out and help people.” And, I was told, the Chicago docs would have to jump through those same hurdles in each one of those local jurisdictions.
According to the folks I spoke with at the Chicago Medical Society today, a Chicago physician can go to one of these home rule counties to perform heart surgery with no questions asked, but they can’t stick needles into peoples’ arms. I did not make that up.
Since they’re home rule counties, I’m not sure what the governor can legally do and the Pritzker administration says it’s researching the issue. In the meantime, some bully pulpit action is called for here. Put some heat on these counties to let in the volunteers, for crying out loud.
*** UPDATE *** Jordan Abudayyeh…
The governor is committed to using all authority he has to remove barriers that prevent qualified health care workers and volunteers from administering vaccine. IDPH is communicating with local health departments urging them to ensure healthcare workers can assist with their operations without unnecessary burdens.
* Meanwhile, in other news, here’s a press release…
As COVID-19 vaccine distribution continues, Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) and her colleagues have fielded hundreds of questions and concerns from people across the state about the rollout, leading her to schedule a hearing to help get to the bottom of the confusing process and call for a more comprehensive and timely plan.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is the greatest line of defense we have against the pandemic,” Morrison said. “Unfortunately, many people across the state who are eligible for the vaccine haven’t been able to get their dose – and that’s disheartening. I hope this hearing will lead us toward a path of greater efficiency.”
Senator Morrison will be joined by representatives from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Sangamon County Health Department, Chicago Department of Public Health, George Miller Safety Net Hospital, Walgreens and CVS — among others.
The hearing will focus on frequently asked questions and concerns regarding the rollout and supply of the COVID-19 vaccine. Morrison hopes the conversation will help distribution become more convenient and readily available.
* From Hannah’s latest thread…
* Chicago Tribune live blog headlines…
Travelers from 2 states, Puerto Rico no longer restricted under Chicago’s emergency travel order
Illinois reports another 58,189 COVID-19 vaccinations administered; a total of 22 cases of the UK variant have now been identified in Illinois
How Chicago’s Black-owned restaurants have fared during the pandemic
Half of Illinois public school students are still in remote learning only, even as CPS reopening plan advances
Delta, alone among airlines, to leave middle seats empty through April
Walgreens partnering with Uber to offer free rides to vaccine appointments
Comcast to award $1 million in grants to minority-owned small businesses in Chicago
For unemployed Chicagoans, real estate’s flourishing market could provide a solution to being out of work during COVID-19 pandemic
College instructors question why they should wait longer for vaccines than Illinois K-12 educators.
New variants raise worry about COVID-19 virus reinfections.
Coronavirus vaccine rollout leads to frustration, resentment as Americans await their shots.
* Sun-Times live blog headlines…
25,000 Chicago Teachers Union members to vote on deal to bring students back for in-person learning
California uses ZIP codes, outreach to boost vaccine equity
An NFL lesson: Masks were not seen as sign of weakness but as sign of responsibility