The IMA has received a number of questions and inquiries since our email earlier this afternoon regarding Illinois’ updated plan for vaccines and the potential for companies to register under the Illinois Comprehensive Automated Immunization Registry Exchange (ICare) program.

As a reminder, manufacturing will now be contained in Phase 1B for vaccine distribution. This is a change and follows the recent ACIP recommendations from the federal government that were issued on December 22. The list of entities contained in Phase 1B will now include:

  • Manufacturing (definition below)
  • First Responders (firefighters, law enforcement, security, school officers, 911 personnel)
  • Food & Agriculture (food processing, veterinarian health, livestock management)
  • US Postal Service
  • Public Transit (flights, buses, trains, taxis, para-transit, ride-sharing, in person support)
  • Grocery Store Workers (baggers, cashiers, pick up, customer service, stockers, deli and meat workers)
  • Correctional Workers and inmates (prison/jail personnel, in-person support personnel)
  • Shelters and day-care staff

The current definition of manufacturing reads as follows: “Industrial production of goods for distribution to wholesale, retail, or other manufacturers.” This is an attempt to be broad-based and ensure that supply chains are included so as not to create disruptions but it does NOT include distribution.

Here are a few questions and clarifications. Please note that the guidance continues to change as new recommendations from the federal government are updated.

Q: Does my company (or employees) need to register or apply to get in line for the vaccine?

A: No. When Illinois gets to Phase 1B, each local public health department will work with local employers and individuals in the classification to determine how vaccines will be administered.

Q: When will Illinois get to Phase 1B?

A: It is likely to be several weeks but is dependent on the number of vaccines received in Illinois.

Q: Is the ICare program open to any manufacturer or employer?

A: Yes – there is no size limit. However, companies making application must meet the criteria that includes having a medical director along with qualified individuals who can administer the vaccines. 

Q: How does my company apply under the ICare program?

A: Visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website. Visit the ICare website at IDPH and under the “Resource” tab, there is a link to apply. Once at the website, click on the box for iCare.

Q: What is ICare?

A: Illinois’ ICare program has been in existence for years. It’s a process by which health care organizations, clinics, employers, and other organizations can apply and be approved by the Department of Public Health to provide immunizations. These entities are part of the state system to help ensure a smooth and seamless distribution of vaccines. Employers who are approved will be able to work with their local public health agency to receive vaccines and administer them to their employees (and other individuals and businesses if they choose).

Q: Does a medical director or qualified individual have to be a company employee?

A: No. According to IDPH, these individuals may be contractual employees. Many employers currently contract with health care providers to operate clinics or health centers in their facilities.

Q: How do my employees receive a vaccine if my company is not under ICare?

A: When Illinois gets to Phase 1B, each local public health department will work with employers and individuals in the 1B classification to determine how vaccines will be administered. They may be administered at a hospital, clinic, pharmacy, FQHC, or other entity that is qualified to provide vaccines.

Q: How will the health care provider know that my employee can get a vaccine? Is a letter or company ID required?

A: No – a letter or company ID are not required. Individuals will be asked to sign or attest that they fall within the designated category. The health care provider may follow up with additional questions if there are doubts that a person does not fall within that category.

Q: How will local public health departments prioritize the classes under Phase 1B?

A: Illinois has not created a ranking or priority list. However, local public health agencies could impose a system to try and vaccinate workers who may be more at risk than others. 

Mark Denzler
President & CEO
Illinois Manufacturers' Association