Illinois plans to exceed President Joe Biden's promise to make all adults eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Monday.
While the governor declined to provide a start date for Phase 1C, the next vaccine rollout phase, he expressed optimism, noting Illinois has recently seen a significant increase in the amount of delivered vaccine doses.
"I just think that people should start to think very much about...the fact that we're going to open this up to everybody relatively sooner than I think people expected," Pritzker said Monday during a one-on-one interview with NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern.
In a primetime address March 11, the president announced he would direct all states to make all adults ages 18 and up eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine by May 1.
Both the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago, however, have said that Biden's deadline is dependent on supply.
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.
Last week, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Public Health - which receives vaccine shipments from the federal government allocated separately from the state - said that low supply is "the one thing holding us back from more fully vaccinating the city."
Chicago health officials previously announced that the city had targeted an estimated start date for Phase 1C to begin on March 29. Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, however, said the city may begin vaccinating those eligible in Phase 1C at an earlier date based on an increase of available doses.
Details on the state's Phase 1C eligibility have not been released, with the Illinois Department of Public Health's website saying only that possible groups could include "other essential workers" like those in food service, finance, media, public safety and more.
The state has also not released parameters or a timeline to enter Phase 2, saying only that it "is possible" that it would include the rest of the state's population ages 16 and up.