Illinois is slated to receive nearly one million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine next week as eligibility expands to include more essential workers, state officials said.
Food and beverage workers, construction trade workers and religious leaders will be eligible for vaccinations as of Monday. On April 12, eligibility will expand to include all Illinois residents who are 16 years old and above.
According to a projection by the federal government, the state will receive nearly 1 million doses for distribution next week, which is an "all-time high," according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
As of late Friday, a total of 6,561,715 doses have been sent to Illinois, with 5,281,618 of those doses having been administered.
IDPH on Friday authorized counties seeing low COVID vaccine demand to begin vaccinating all residents 16 and older in order to "address a concerning possible trend in increasing COVID hospitalizations and case rates."
Residents were urged to contact their local health department to find out whether eligibility has been expanded in their community.
The state also announced Friday that it is sending "Rapid Response Vaccination Teams" to five counties where epidemiologists "have determined there is a need to administer doses quickly to blunt increasing trends," IDPH said. Those teams will administer single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccinations to residents on top of what the counties are already allocated.
Those counties are: Carroll, Ogle, Boone, Lee and Whiteside.
“Recent increases in hospital admissions and test positivity are concerning new developments and we don’t want to go down the same path we’ve seen before and experience a resurgence in the pandemic, which is why Governor Pritzker directed us to use all our resources to halt these upticks,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement.
Illinois has seen 10 days of increases in the seven-day rolling average for hospital admissions since March 8, IDPH said, and the COVID-19 test positivity was 3.3% as of Friday - up from 2.5% on March 10.