Chicago is set to begin giving residents 65 and older the coronavirus vaccine as early as next week, launching the next phase of the city's rollout, health officials confirmed Wednesday.
The Chicago Department of Public Health will allow residents older than 65 to begin being vaccinated next week, "but only with leftover doses not claimed by health care workers & long-term care facility residents," the department said.
"That would launch the next phase of the vaccination effort," according to CDPH.
While it's not the full Phase 1B initially planned for the city, it comes on the heels of a request from the the Trump Administration, which this week asked states to vaccinate people age 65 and over and those under 65 with underlying health conditions that put them at high risk.
The department offered no further guidance on how residents can learn if they will be able to get the vaccine and where they can go.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to announce this week when Illinois will enter Phase 1B of its coronavirus vaccine rollout, though some areas may already be allowed to do so.
"I expect to make a formal announcement later this week on when Illinois
will move into Phase 1B on a statewide basis," Pritzker said during his coronavirus update Monday. "Of course, anyone in Phase 1A who has chosen not to get vaccinated yet will always be able to opt in during any subsequent round – this is about leaving no vaccine sitting on the shelves as we move forward."
As of Monday, 587,900 total doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines had been delivered to Illinois, 478,175 doses had been sent to public and private healthcare providers outside of Chicago and 109,725 doses had gone to providers in Chicago.
Illinois as a whole had administered approximately 334,939 vaccine doses as of Sunday night.
"We are making important progress in Phase 1A and I appreciate the hard work of healthcare providers across the state to move as quickly through this phase as possible," Pritzker said. "In some communities, they’ve even been able to substantially complete Phase 1A. IDPH is allowing any local health department in that position to move into the early stages of Phase 1B because we want to make sure any available vaccine is administered quickly to the priority groups we’ve laid out."
Phase 1B is set to center on residents age 65 years and older and "frontline essential workers," including first responders, education workers like teachers and support staff, childcare workers, grocery store employees, postal service workers, and more.
The age requirement in Illinois is 10 years lower than the initial recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, "in order to reduce COVID-19 mortality and limit community spread in Black and Brown communities," the governor said.
Phase 1B will include roughly 3.2 million Illinois residents, according to the state.
Chicago health officials had said they expected Phase 1B will begin in the city in February or March.
"A lot depends on how quickly vaccine comes to us," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said. "We get about 32,000 doses of first doses of vaccine a week right now. You think about how many people there are over 65 - 370,000 - how many essential workers - hundreds of thousands, 150,000, just in education - there is going to have to be some patience here. But I would expect that we will likely be beginning, you know, in the sort of February to March timeframe, and then we'll continue to vaccinate through, you know, over these next few months."