By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — Governor JB Pritzker said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that Illinois is not going to get the number of COVID vaccines originally promised.

“Previously federal authorities had notified us that they planned to ship out nearly 8 million Pfizer vaccine doses to states large cities and territories across the country next week. However, as of this morning I was disappointed to learn that the US Department of Health and Human Services informed us that, per the direction of Operation Warp Speed, that estimate was tightened significantly down to 4.3 million doses shipped nationally next week,” Pritzker said.

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He said the reduced number is also for the following week.

“Originally projected for another 8.8 million doses is also now scheduled to be 4.3. million doses. This development will likely cut our state’s projected Pfizer shipments this month by roughly half,” Pritzker said. “The same is true across the rest of the nation,” Pritzker said.

The governor noted that it doesn’t affect vaccine shipments “that already arrived at our Strategic National Stockpile on Monday. As part of our initial 109,000 doses for this week, shipments to regional destinations across the state, remain on schedule.”

Doctor Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said despite the announced reduction in COVID vaccine doses, things have been known to change with what is driving the race to get vaccines to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“We know that the the federal numbers in terms of what will go out to all of the states and territories has been decreased so consequentially, we will have a resultant drop,” Ezike said. “Our final numbers have not been concluded and I think the governor has mentioned many times that he’s not comfortable speaking too much about numbers because things do change on literally hourly basis, this is information from just this morning. So, we can’t really give any more about projections.”

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The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 7,123 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, as well as 146 additional deaths.

Since the start of the pandemic, Illinois has reported a total of 870,600 coronavirus cases, including 14,655 deaths.

As of Wednesday, the state’s seven-day average case positivity rate is down to 8.5%, the lowest it’s been since Nov. 4. The state’s positivity rate has largely been trending downward over the past month, after reaching as high as 13.2% on Nov. 13. However it’s still more than double the 3.5% positivity rate reported at the start of October.

Meantime, hospitalizations also have been trending downward in recent weeks.

As of Tuesday night, 4,793 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in Illinois, including 1,045 patients in the ICU and 590 patients on ventilators. The state’s overall hospitalization numbers are now at their lowest point since Nov. 9.

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff