coronavirus illinois

COVID Vaccine Eligibility Expands in Chicago and Illinois: What You Need to Know

Here's a look at who's now eligible for the COVID vaccine in Illinois and Chicago, which are operating on different timelines

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Both the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois expanded eligibility for the COVID vaccine on Monday, opening up vaccinations to those with underlying health conditions and more essential workers.

Here's a look at what you need to know:

Chicago is now in Phase 1C of its COVID vaccine rollout, expanding eligibility on Monday to residents with underlying health conditions as well as workers in a variety of fields, including restaurant employees, hotel workers, hairdressers, clergy members, construction workers, delivery drivers and warehouse workers, among others.

Here's a breakdown of who is and isn't eligible under Phase 1C in Chicago:

Underlying medical conditions

Cancer (current diagnosis), Cardiac, cardiovascular, and cerebrovascular disorders (including heart disease, coronary artery disease, and hypertension or high blood pressure), Chronic Kidney Disease, Chronic respiratory disorders (including cystic fibrosis, moderate to severe asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/emphysema [COPD]), Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2), Disability: physical, developmental, visual, hearing, or mental, Neurologic conditions (including dementia), Down Syndrome, Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines, Liver disease (including hepatitis), Pregnancy, Obesity: BMI ≥30 kg/m2, Schizophrenia spectrum disorders, Sickle Cell Disease, Thalassemia, persons with disabilities

Clergy and religious organizations

People 65 years of age and older; where possible, prioritizing Chicagoans 75 years and older and Chicagoans age 65-74 with underlying medical conditions


Workers supporting the energy sector, including those involved in energy manufacturing, distribution, repair


Banks; currency exchanges; consumer lending; credit unions; appraisers; title companies; financial markets; financial institutions; institutions that sell financial services; accounting services, and insurance services 

Food and beverage service

Restaurant and other facilities that prepare and serve food (including bars); entities that provide food services

Higher education

Workers in educational institutions – including junior colleges, four-year colleges, and universities, technical schools, trade schools, educational support services, and administration of education programs

Information technology and communications

Internet, video and telecommunications systems, consumer electronics repair, computer and office machine repair 


Workers providing legal services or supporting the operations of the judicial system, including judges, lawyers, paralegals, legal assistants, process servers, couriers, bail bond agents, parole officers, probation offices, court personnel, and others providing legal assistance or performing legal functions


Newspapers, periodicals, television, radio, and other media services, news dealers and newsstands, broadcasting, news syndicates, printing, and book publishers
Other community- or government-based operations and essential functions
Other governmental employees; community based essential functions (e.g. urban planning, offices that provide basic needs such as food, childcare, shelter, and social services); workers in libraries

Personal care services and hygiene

Businesses that provide personal care services, such as hair, nails, and non-medical massage.

Laundromats, dry cleaners, industrial laundry services, and laundry service providers

Public health

Public health entities; pharmaceutical, medical device and equipment, and biotechnology companies

Public safety

Workers that ensure public safety systems function properly, including building inspectors, civil engineers, chemical engineers, aerospace engineers and hazardous materials responders. Workers who construct and maintain roads, highways, railroads, and ports. Cybersecurity operations workers


Workers in retail stores including but not limited to stores that sell alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, medication not requiring a medical prescription, other non-grocery products (e.g. electronics, optical goods, books, etc.), other household consumer products, wholesalers, licensed cannabis dispensaries and cultivation centers

Shelter and housing

Hardware stores and businesses; construction and maintenance of buildings, real estate; hotel and motel workers

Transportation and logistics

Workers at gas stations; auto and bike supply and repair; businesses that supply shipping and delivery services; couriers; warehouses; private mail; Airline workers not included in 1b; workers in rail, water, truck, charter bus transportation or transportation rental

Water and wastewater

Workers involved in wastewater treatment and operations; sanitary and storm maintenance crews performing emergency and essential maintenance of systems

Those already eligible under Phases 1A and 1B in Chicago will also remain eligible in 1C. The city operates under its own framework and timetable because it receives its supply of vaccine from the federal government allocated separately from the state.

Also Monday, more essential workers who were not previously eligible under Illinois' Phase 1B Plus guidelines now qualify for the COVID vaccine.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced earlier this month that Illinois would expand eligibility to residents in more lines of work as the state looks to open up vaccine access to all adults outside Chicago on April 12.

Food and beverage workers, construction trade workers and religious leaders are now all eligible for the vaccine starting Monday. Last week, higher education staff, government workers and media became eligible.

Here's a look at the full schedule of vaccine eligibility in Illinois:

DateEligible Groups
December 15, 2020Healthcare workers and long-term care facility staff and residents
January 25, 2021Frontline essential workers (including first responders, K-12 teachers and other public-facing industries) and residents age 65 and up
February 25, 2021Residents with high-risk conditions or disabilities, age 16 and up
March 22, 2021Higher education staff, government workers, and media
March 29, 2021Restaurant staff, construction trade workers, and religious leaders
April 12, 2021Any resident age 16 and up

On Friday, the state also authorized any counties seeing "low demand" for vaccinations to begin vaccinating all residents 16 and older at their immediate discretion in order to "address a concerning possible trend in increasing COVID hospitalizations and case rates."

For a full look at who's eligible for the COVID vaccine in Chicago and Illinois, and when they become eligible, click here.

Pritzker previously announced that all Illinois residents over the age of 16 outside of Chicago will be eligible to get vaccinated beginning on April 12. All vaccinations will remain by appointment only, officials said, noting that "making an appointment to receive a shot may take time."

For a complete look at where and how you can make an appointment in Illinois or where you can receive vaccine information for your area, click here.

That April 12 date is ahead of the timeline that President Joe Biden laid out earlier this month, saying he would direct states to make all adults eligible for the vaccine by May 1.

Pritzker said in announcing the expanded eligibility that he felt "confident" in vaccine supply moving forward and that he believed the state could advance ahead of that deadline.

Illinois has seen 10 days of increases in the seven-day rolling average for hospital admissions since March 8, IDPH said, and the COVID-19 test positivity was 3.3% as of Friday - up from 2.5% on March 10.

Illinois entered Phase 1B Plus of its vaccine rollout plan late last month, expanding eligibility to individuals with certain high-risk medical conditions and comorbidities. That's in addition to the already-eligible health care workers and long-term care facility staff and residents who qualified in Phase 1A, plus the frontline essential workers as well as residents age 65 and older who became eligible in the earlier iteration of Phase 1B.

The state remains in Phase 1B Plus of its vaccination rollout, and anyone who became eligible in that phase or earlier iterations - Phase 1A and Phase 1B - remains eligible to get vaccinated.

For a full look at who's eligible to get vaccinated in Phase 1B Plus, click here.

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