Eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine will expand to all Illinois residents over the age of 16, except for those in the city of Chicago, beginning on April 12, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday.
Pritzker and Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike made the announcement during a COVID-19 update in which he also unveiled a new framework for the state's reopening plan.
All Illinois residents over the age of 16 will be eligible to get vaccinated beginning on April 12, Pritzker said, adding that state officials in the coming days would make available more information on certain populations that will become eligible before that final expansion.
"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 in a statement.
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All vaccinations will remain by appointment only, officials said, noting that "making an appointment to receive a shot may take time."
Pritzker's office also noted that residents who are not currently eligible to receive the vaccine cannot yet schedule an appointment for a future date, asking for patience in the days and weeks after April 12 as appointments "may be limited."
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 last week that he felt "confident" in vaccine supply moving forward and that he believed the state could advance ahead of that deadline.
Illinois entered what's called 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.
For a full look at who's eligible to get vaccinated in Phase 1B Plus, click here.
But when the state entered Phase 1B Plus, several jurisdictions, including the city of Chicago, suburban Cook County and several other counties in the area, announced that they would not expand eligibility along with the rest of Illinois, citing low vaccine supply.
Chicago officials announced Wednesday that the city will move into Phase 1C, which includes all remaining essential workers as well as all adults with qualifying health conditions, as planned on March 29.
Because Chicago receives its supply of vaccine from the federal government allocated separately from the state, the city operates on its own framework and timetable and will not expand eligibility to all adults with the rest of the state on April 12.
Illinois officials said Thursday that the state has administered more than 4.3 million doses of the available COVID-19 vaccines since vaccinations began in December, currently averaging about 100,000 doses per day as supply has increased.