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Vaccine Eligibility Expands In Chicago, Suburban Cook County

Vaccine Eligibility Expands In Chicago, Suburban Cook County

  • Posted by Barrington Hills
  • On March 19, 2021

Appointments at mass vaccination sites in the Cook County suburbs open Friday to all Illinois residents in Phase 1b+, officials said.

|  Updated Fri, Mar 19, 2021 at 7:59 am CT


CHICAGO — More than a million additional Cook County residents will soon be eligible to make appointments to receive the coronavirus vaccine, as public health officials announced plans to expand the availability of doses in Chicago and suburban Cook County.

The Cook County Department of Public Health announced that the suburbs will move to Phase 1b+ on Monday, which adds people aged 16 to 64 with medical conditions that increase the risk of complications from COVID-19.

A week later, on March 29, the Chicago Department of Public Health is on track to move from Phase 1b to Phase 1c, opening vaccine appointments to anyone with a qualifying pre-existing health condition, as well as all classes of essential workers — including those in the retail, hospitality and higher education sectors, who have been so far excluded from eligibility under Illinois rules.

“Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen great progress in vaccinating vulnerable groups in phase 1b, including our seniors,” said Dr. Rachel Rubin, senior medical officer and co-lead at the Cook County Department of Public Health, in a release announcing the expanded eligibility. “This is reflected in the numbers, which indicate that more than 68 percent of individuals 65 and older in suburban Cook County have received at least one dose.”

County-run suburban mass vaccination sites at the former Des Plaines K-MartSouth Suburban CollegeTinley Park Convention Center and Triton College will begin administering vaccine to any Illinois resident who is a member of the Phase 1a, Phase 1b or Phase 1b+ priority group.

In addition to people with cancer, chronic kidney disease, pulmonary diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, organ transplants that compromise immunity, obesity, sickle cell, the Phase 1b+ group includes pregnant women, smokers and those with disabilities.

That means residents of towns outside the jurisdiction of the Cook County Department of Public Health can sign up for jabs at vaccine.cookcountyil.gov starting at noon on Friday.

The department covers every Cook County suburb apart from Evanston, Oak Park, Skokie and Stickney Township, which have received their own supplies of vaccine from the state according to the size of their populations.

Suburban Cook County public health officials said they plan to advance to Phase 1c in the near future.

Appointments to receive doses at the United Center remain prioritized for Chicagoans 65 and over and residents of certain targeted ZIP codes, although city officials said limited additional appointments are being added online.

Chicago public health officials also announced plans to limit eligibility at city-run sites to residents of the city later this month at the same time the sites start to administer doses to those with underlying conditions and more essential workers.

Non-residents will still be able to get doses in Chicago at private health care providers and workplace vaccination events, according to Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.

Arwady said nearly 40 percent of the city’s doses have gone to non-residents, including those who work in Chicago, while about 20 percent of vaccinated Chicago residents received their job in another municipality.

According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health updated Wednesday, 12.6 percent of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated. That compares to 12.8 percent of residents of the Cook County suburbs and 10.3 percent of Chicago residents.