Chicago health officials say the city could enter the next phase of its vaccine rollout by the end of the month, but who will be eligible?
The city has so far chosen not to enter Phase 1B Plus of vaccinations alongside the state, which would open up doses to residents with certain underlying health conditions.
Though no announcement on eligibility has so far been made, Phase 1C would likely 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.
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.
Though the city opted out of expanding to Phase 1B Plus, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady has said that should Chicago receive "a lot more vaccine" in March, it's possible officials could begin vaccinating those with underlying conditions prior to entering Phase 1C.
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.
Chicago health officials previously announced that the city had targeted an estimated start date for the next phase, Phase 1C, to begin on March 29.
Arwady said the city may begin those vaccinations at an earlier date should the city see an increase of available doses, but she noted that the city remains on track to enter Phase 1C at the end of March.
"We'll make adjustments to that [date] as we always have, as we see how vaccine doses come in," Arwady said. "But honestly, the way [vaccines have] been coming in is about how I've expected them to come in. March is going to look a lot better than February did related to vaccine. And I think April is going to look a lot better than March."
Arwady has said Phase 1C would likely begin March 29 and Phase 2, which includes all residents over the age of 16, could begin May 31.
"It may be sooner than expected, but that timeline that we laid out actually continues to look pretty consistent with our numbers," Arwady said. "If you recall, we really said the end of March, March 29, was where we were guessing we might be at a point to be able to move ahead into 1C and then, the end of May is when we might be able to move ahead to Phase 2 and I haven't seen anything that really suggests major, major differences from that."
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