Most Chicagoans will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the month under the 1C phase, which includes many essential workers.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday that all Illinois residents over age 16 will be eligible for the vaccine by April 12, but that plan does not yet include Chicago.
“The city of Chicago gets separate shipments from the federal government, separate from the rest of the state. It represents 21% of the population of Illinois ... and it can make decisions on its own, it has the ability to do that. I hope that it will move expeditiously to open up even more. That’s what we’re doing across the rest of the state of Illinois,” Pritzker said.
Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, says her focus is still on getting the vaccine to seniors and then the 1C category, but that the city won’t be too far behind the state in opening up eligibility to everyone.
“The big difference I think is that here in Chicago, as we were opening up to folks with underlying conditions, we did want to also [vaccinate] essential workers,” Arwady said. “So we’re not talking about a major difference here in terms of timeline, we’re going to be open, and it’s all about as vaccine gets here ... we’ll be open to everybody by May 1.”
Pritzker also announced a new easing of restrictions that would allow businesses to expand their capacity limits after 70% of the state’s senior population is vaccinated.
Arwady says the city is looking at the plan’s details, but that she expects Chicago to follow suit.
“I like this focus on getting people 65-plus done,” Arwady said. “And we’re all in agreement about being able to open things up just as soon as things look safe ... broadly, we’re in good alignment here that as we continue to make progress, we want to open.”
Chicago has administered 814,277 COVID-19 vaccine shots as of Thursday afternoon, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The city is distributing almost 20,000 shots per day, on average.