With parts of the Chicago area under different phases compared to much of Illinois, there has been plenty confusion about who can get the coronavirus vaccine and where.
Illinois is under what it calls Phase 1B Plus, expanding Phase 1B to include people with certain high-risk medical conditions and comorbidities.
But for several suburbs and Chicago itself, Phase 1B Plus has not yet started - depending on where you go.
Here's a breakdown of who is eligible and where:
Who is Eligible Under Phase 1B Plus?
Beginning Feb. 25, the state increased eligibility for Phase 1B to include people with certain underlying conditions and comorbidities.
The list of qualifying high-risk medical conditions (which is subject to change) includes:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Heart conditions
- Immunosuppressed states from a solid organ transplant
- Pulmonary diseases
- Sickle cell disease
The expansion applies to those 16 and older who weren't otherwise covered in previous eligibility categories, the state said.
That's in addition to the health care workers and long-term care facility staff and residents who qualified in Phase 1A of the state's rollout as well as the frontline essential workers and residents age 65 and older who were eligible at the start of Phase 1B, which included more than 3.2 million Illinois residents.
Here's a look at those who already qualified under Phase 1B:
- 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 persPDonnel, 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, inmatesU
- 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
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.
Which Locations Are in Phase 1B Plus and Which Aren't?
Several local health departments, hospital systems and Chicago-area counties have said they will not be expanding their Phase 1B just yet, saying vaccine supply remains too limited.
Here's a look at who is and isn't expanding so far:
Chicago was among the first to announce it would not be joining the state.
"We're not ready at this point ," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a Facebook Live video. "The city of Chicago, Cook County, Evanston, DuPage County, Stickney - there may be others - all said we're just not at a point to be able to move ahead."
According to Arwady, more than 950,000 Chicago residents would become eligible if the city expanded Phase 1B under the state's guidelines.
"We cannot add a million people to the about almost a million people including the 1A, who are already in competition for the existing doses," she said. "It'll just make everybody more frustrated. So as we have more vaccine, we definitely will be opening up and go from there."
Still, a federally-run mass vaccination site at Chicago's United Center remains open for Illinois seniors as well as Chicago residents who qualify under the Phase 1B Plus guidelines, excluding smokers. The facility plans to add more appointments that could expand to include suburban residents too.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in a joint statement with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot echoed Arwady's claims, saying "we are not being supplied with enough doses that would allow us to expand eligibility in these phases."
Cook County residents who qualify under Phase 1B Plus are expected to be eligible for some upcoming appointments at the United Center mass vaccination site, however.
DeKalb County officials say the area will not be expanding Phase 1B until those eligible at the start of the phase receive their vaccines.
DuPage County's Health Department said in a statement it can't expand eligibility "until vaccine supply increases."
In a note to residents, Evanston said it did not anticipate being able to expand Phase 1B eligibility "due to the large number of individuals 65 years and older in Evanston who are currently eligible for vaccines as part of Phase 1b, and the limited supply of vaccines available to date."
In a Feb. 15 release, Grundy County said it "remains in Phase 1b, which we now understand includes people under age 65 years old with high-risk medical conditions."
"Although these folks have been included, we haven’t yet seen an increase in vaccine allocation directed to Grundy County. Our estimate is that 1b now includes more than 15,000 people, and we continue to see only hundreds of vaccines each week," the county's health department said. "It is going to take months to offer a vaccine to everyone who now qualifies."
"Osco Drug Pharmacy is following the state of Illinois Phase 1b expanded guidelines that take effect February 25th," the company said in a statement.
"The Kane County Health Department will phase in 1B part 2 eligible residents in their clinics as more vaccine becomes available," the county's health department said. "Some of our providers will continue to focus on 65+ years of age patients while others are better positioned to include those patients with medical conditions."
"The Health Department is committed to getting as many people vaccinated as quickly and as efficiently as possible," the county's health department said in a statement. "However, we continue to receive a very limited supply of vaccine. Expanding phase 1B will further delay vaccinating healthcare workers, seniors, and frontline essential workers already in Phase 1A and 1B not already vaccinated and waiting for their turn."
"Until vaccine supply increases, Lake County will not be expanding to the 'Phase 1b plus' group announced by the governor, which includes people ages 16–64 with co-morbidities, high risk health conditions, and disabilities," spokesman Christopher Coveli said in a statement. "Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for transitioning between phases, we will look to move in to the 'Phase 1b plus' group when 60-70% of persons within the current phase are vaccinated or when supply of vaccines exceeds demand in the current phase. However, pharmacies and other entities that receive vaccines directly from the state or federal government are free to follow the Illinois expansion that begins February 25, 2021."
"We will be [expanding] according to each county’s jurisdiction," a spokesperson for the company said. "Appointments can be made as of [Thursday], but 3/1 is the vaccination date, pending appointment availability."
"Based on current vaccine allotments from the State, MCDH will continue focusing its Phase 1b vaccination efforts on 65 and older and first responders," the county said in a statement.
Oak Street Health
"We aren't planning to expand eligibility to younger people with health conditions - we're focusing our efforts on older adults (patients and other seniors) in our communities," the health system said in a statement. "We are seeing enough demand from this group and it aligns with the expectations that the City of Chicago and Cook County have set in remaining focused on vaccinating those currently eligible. The exception is that we are working in partnership with the City's Protect Chicago Plus initiative where for eight weekends (the previous two and upcoming six), we're vaccinating residents ages 18+ in the Belmont Cragin and Montclare neighborhoods (two of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the pandemic, as outlined by the City). We're really proud of the work we're doing there - it's making a measurable impact on vaccination rates of Latinos in Chicago."
In a statement, Walgreens said they "follow jurisdiction guidance on eligibility, and it differs across Chicago, collar counties and downstate."
"Like so many counties in our area, we are unable to expand to what is now called '1B-plus' due to lack of adequate vaccine supplies," Will County's health department said in a statement. "We will continue to focus on Phase 1B, and those 65 and older, with the hopes that vaccine supplies improve soon."