Note: The news conference can be watched live in the video player above beginning at around 1 p.m.
Chicago's top doctor on Wednesday is expected to deliver an update on the city's COVID-19 data and announce the next steps and phases of the vaccination rollout.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady is scheduled to hold a news conference to deliver the update at 1 p.m. from City Hall, according to CDPH. The event can be watched live in the video player above.
The news conference will include "an update on COVID-19 data and the continued vaccine distribution in Chicago, including planned next steps and phases," CDPH said.
Arwady hinted at the announcement in a Facebook Live video on Tuesday, saying Chicago is expected to move ahead to its next phase of vaccinations, Phase 1C, at the end of the month, with details to be released Wednesday.
The city is slated to move to Phase 1C, which opens up eligibility to people with certain underlying health conditions and other essential workers not already eligible under Phase 1B, on March 29, Arwady said Tuesday.
"We are intending March 29 to move ahead with 1C, which means moving ahead to the people who have the list of the underlying conditions as well, to be clear, as the frontline workers who are unable to work from home," Arwady said.
She hinted that the move will expand eligibility not only to those currently qualified under the state's 1B Plus plan, but also to other essential workers.
"I feel pretty strongly about making sure that people who are working in restaurants and people who are, you know, clergy and people who are working in, you know, doing your hair and the nails, people who have trouble keeping the distance, who can't work from home... We want to make sure that they have the opportunity to get vaccinated," Arwady said. "We have plans to be vaccinating particularly in some of the settings that may have a lot of lower wage workers, that may have more difficulty accessing vaccine, and so we are planning to move ahead."
She noted, however, that much like previous phases, the rollout for Phase 1C will take time as eligible residents work to get appointments.
"Not everybody's going to be able if we open March 29," Arwady said. "You know, there's nowhere near enough vaccines to vaccinate all those people on March 29, but people will be able to get vaccinated in April and May, just like when we moved from 1A to 1B, we said - that was at the very end of January - we said most people are going to get vaccinated in February or March in 1B. That's exactly what's happened and that's going to be the same thing and 1C will open up at the end of March, most people in 1C will get vaccinated in April and in May."
Chicago remains under Phase 1B, which includes frontline essential workers and residents age 65 and older, as well as health care workers and long-term care facility staff and residents who were eligible under Phase 1A of the city's rollout.
The city opted out of expanding to Phase 1B Plus alongside the state, which made those with certain underlying medical conditions eligible, due to what it said was a lack of supply.
For a full look at who's eligible to get vaccinated in Phase 1B Plus, click here.
Phase 1C would expand vaccine eligibility to all other essential workers not already eligible as well as Chicagoans over the age of 16 with underlying medical conditions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Phase 1C includes:
- People aged 65—74 years because they are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19. People aged 65—74 years who are also residents of long-term care facilities should be offered vaccination in Phase 1a.
- People aged 16—64 years with underlying medical conditions which increase the risk of serious, life-threatening complications from COVID-19.
- Other essential workers, such as people who work in transportation and logistics, food service, housing construction and finance, information technology, communications, energy, law, media, public safety, and public health.
The CDC notes, however, that Phase 1B and Phase 1C can overlap in some cases, such as underlying medical conditions.
Already, many residents eligible under Phase 1B Plus of the state's rollout can get vaccinated at the federally-run United Center mass vaccination site.
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.