Illinois plans to expand the list of people eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations in Phase 1B of its rollout beginning next Thursday.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the state expects to add people with "a high-risk medical condition" or comorbidity. The list includes those with cancer, diabetes, obesity, women who are pregnant, and those with several other conditions.
"In light of a steadily increasing federal vaccine supply, Illinois is making plans to expand Phase 1B eligibility on February 25 to people who have comorbidities and underlying conditions as defined by the CDC," the governor's office said in a release. "In addition, Illinois will also prioritize individuals with disabilities."
The list of qualifying high-risk medical conditions (which is subject to change) includes:
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
- Heart Condition
- Immunocompromised State from a Solid Organ Transplant
- Pulmonary Disease
- Sickle Cell Disease
“Those who are under 65 and live with comorbidities, such as cancer survivors or those living with heart disease, have an elevated risk of serious complications or death if they contract COVID-19," Pritzker said in a statement. "Illinois is moving forward in accordance with guidance from the CDC to expand our eligible population as supply allows, getting us closer to the point when the vaccine is widely available to all who want it. In the meantime, I encourage all Illinoisans to wear our masks and follow the mitigations so that more of our neighbors are healthy and alive when it’s their turn in the vaccination line.”
The expansion applies to those 16 and older who weren't otherwise covered in previous eligibility categories, the state said, adding that it plans to work with local health departments and other providers as eligibility increases.
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.
According to Illinois and U.S. medical experts, pregnant women were excluded from trials for the vaccine, so there had been little information on the vaccines' safety for that group.
Earlier this month, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said there have been "no red flags" seen in the more than 10,000 pregnant women who have received vaccine shots so far.
Guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that if a woman is part of a group recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and is pregnant, she may choose to be vaccinated. A discussion with her healthcare provider can help her make an informed decision, the agency stated.
Already, more than 3.2 million Illinois residents are eligible for vaccinations under Phase 1B, which includes people age 65 years and older as well as "frontline essential workers."
Here's a look at who is already included, in addition to health care workers and those in long-term care facilities who were eligible in Phase 1A:
- Residents age 65 and over
- Frontline essential workers, which means "residents who carry a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure because of their work duties, often because they are unable to work from home, and/or they must work closely to others without being able to socially distance. This includes:
- First responders: Fire, law enforcement, 911 workers, security personnel, school officers
- Education: Teachers, principals, student support, student aids, day care worker
- Food and agriculture: Processing, plants, veterinary health, livestock services, animal care
- Manufacturing: Industrial production of good for distribution to retail, wholesale or other manufactures
- Corrections workers and inmates: Jail officers, juvenile facility staff, workers providing in-person support, inmates
- USPS workers
- Public transit workers: Flight crew, bus drivers, train conductors, taxi drivers, para-transit drivers, in-person support, ride sharing services
- Grocery store workers: Baggers, cashiers, stockers, pickup, customer service
- Shelters and day care staff: Homeless shelter, women’s shelter, adult day/drop-in program, sheltered workshop, psycho-social rehab