coronavirus illinois

Illinois COVID Vaccine Eligibility Opens Monday: What You Need to Know

Here's a look at who is eligible for the COVID vaccine in Illinois and how to get a vaccine appointment

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Illinois COVID vaccine eligibility expands to anyone age 16 and older, except for in the city of Chicago, on Monday.

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

Who is currently eligible for the COVID vaccine in Illinois?

Illinois entered Phase 1B Plus of its vaccine rollout on Feb. 25, expanding eligibility to include people with certain high-risk medical conditions and comorbidities. That's in addition to the health care staff, seniors ages 65 and up, frontline essential workers and others already previously eligible in Phases 1A and 1B.

In many counties, eligibility has already expanded to anyone 16 and older after the state authorized local health departments to open eligibility at their discretion.

Click here for a complete breakdown of who's eligible where and when across Illinois and in Chicago

Which Illinois counties have already expanded eligibility?

More than 80 of Illinois' 102 counties have already expanded COVID vaccine eligibility to state residents 16 years and older, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Click here for a full list of counties that have expanded

Who is eligible for the COVID vaccine in Illinois starting Monday?

All Illinois residents over the age of 16 outside of the city of Chicago will be eligible to get vaccinated beginning on April 12, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced last month.

"At that date, all state-supported mass vaccination sites, local health departments, pharmacy partners – in short, every jurisdiction that receives vaccine from the State of Illinois’ allocation – will be instructed to move to widespread eligibility," Pritzker's office said.

Why isn't Chicago included when Illinois expands vaccine eligibility?

Chicago receives its supply of vaccine from the federal government allocated separately from the state. As such, the city operates on its own framework and timetable.

Chicago officials have repeatedly said the ability to expand eligibility depends on vaccine supply, saying on several occasions that the city was not receiving enough doses of the vaccine to further open appointments.

When will Chicago open COVID vaccine eligibility?

Chicago will open COVID vaccine eligibility to all residents age 16 and older on April 19, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday.

That date is the deadline President Joe Biden set for states to make all adults eligible for the vaccine, moving up his previously targeted date of May 1.

"We do want to be aligned with the president's objective but understanding that we need more vaccine," Lightfoot said when announcing that the city would meet that deadline. "And I want to be clear that when we open up on April 19, that doesn't mean that very day, everybody's going to get access to vaccines. There will be some lag.

"We want people to go and sign up on their turn, but given the supply of vaccines, it may be a few weeks or so before they get an appointment to be able to come in. So, we just caution them to be patient and in the meantime, to be diligent," she added.

Who is eligible for the COVID vaccine now in Chicago?

Chicago entered Phase 1C of its vaccine rollout on March 29, opening eligibility to those with underlying health conditions and essential workers like restaurant employees, those in personal care services, retail workers and more.

For a complete look at who qualifies for the COVID vaccine in Chicago's Phase 1C, click here

Can Chicago residents get vaccinated outside the city before eligibility expands?

Chicago residents can sign up for COVID vaccine appointments in other parts of Illinois outside of the city, Pritzker said Thursday.

"They're absolutely welcome to," Pritzker said. "I want to make sure that people in Chicago know that they are welcome to sign up for our mass vaccination sites."

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady also said Thursday that residents are able to leave the city to receive the vaccine, particularly in areas with a lesser demand.

"I see already there's some people who are, you know, commenting about leaving Chicago to get vaccine, and I do just want to mention that where vaccine demand is softer, which is true for a lot of downstate Illinois, it is also true in Indiana, those sites are open to Chicago residents and you are eligible at them," Arwady said.

How to get a COVID vaccine appointment in Illinois

There are several options for Illinois residents to get vaccinated, from state-supported mass vaccination sites, to grocery stores and pharmacies, through hospitals and health systems, county health departments and more.

For a complete look at where and how you can make an appointment in Illinois, click here

When can I get a vaccine appointment in Illinois?

You may not be able to get a vaccination appointment as soon as you're eligible, officials say, repeatedly asking for patience as vaccine supply increases.

"As a reminder, even with improved vaccine shipments, patience continues to be the watchword here," Pritzker said.

Pritzker said Thursday that the state is opening up 150,000 additional first-dose appointments for the coming week at state-supported mass vaccination sites and pharmacies across Illinois. But the ramped-up rollout will take time.

"Even with all of these new appointments, there will not be enough vaccine in week one to get everyone that wants to be vaccinated a dose," he said. "But vaccine doses will be arriving more quickly than ever before and the public health system is doing everything in its power to get these vaccines into the arms of our residents as quickly as the federal government can deliver them."

How many vaccinations has Illinois done so far?

Illinois officials said Friday that the state has administered more than 6.8 million doses of the three available COVID-19 vaccines since vaccinations began in December, currently averaging about 118,000 doses per day as supply has increased.

Illinois Vaccinations

Note: For COVID-19, the herd-immunity threshold is estimated to be between 60 and 90 percent. Our analysis considers herd immunity reached at 75% of the population fully vaccinated based on estimates by Dr. Anthony Fauci.


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