This afternoon, Mayor Lori Lightfoot confirmed that Chicago will move into Phase 1C of its vaccination distribution plan on March 29, making the majority of Chicagoans eligible to receive the vaccine. Those who are already eligible during Phases 1A and 1B will continue to be vaccinated and prioritized as the new distribution phase begins, and the city will continue to encourage seniors to receive vaccines.
According to Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, within the next week Chicago will reach 1 million vaccine doses administered since vaccinations began in December. The city estimates that 70 to 75 percent of those who were eligible during Phase 1A have received a first dose.
While eligibility is increasing to include those with underlying conditions and additional essential workers (specifically those who cannot work from home), the city is trying to manage expectations based on the limited supply of vaccines available. Supply is expected to ramp up in the coming months as more vaccines are produced, but there aren't likely to be many appointments available when Phase 1C begins on March 29. "Just because you're eligible, doesn't mean you're going to be able to be vaccinated right away—it's all going to depend on vaccine supply," Arwady said.
Currently, it sounds like even those who become eligible on March 29 will need to be patient—vaccine availability may not increase significantly until May and the city expects to be vaccinating Chicagoans throughout the summer.
"I was honestly surprised to hear President Biden call for eligibility for all adults by May 1, since the vaccine supply we've received to date in Chicago would not necessarily support that timeline," Dr. Arwady said, referring to the President's recent announcement. "But I'm taking it as a sign that the Federal government is confident that vaccine supply will ramp up even faster over the spring."
Arwady stated that Chicago is prepared to ramp up its distribution efforts as supply increases, working with more than 600 healthcare providers and potentially opening addition mass vaccination sites much like the one currently operating in the United Center's parking lot.
According to the City of Chicago's Covid vaccination website, individuals who fall under the following categories will be come eligible for vaccination in Phase 1C:
Underlying medical conditions
Cancer (current diagnosis), Cardiac, cardiovascular, and cerebrovascular disorders (including heart disease, coronary artery disease, and hypertension or high blood pressure), Chronic Kidney Disease, Chronic respiratory disorders (including cystic fibrosis, moderate to severe asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/emphysema [COPD]), Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2), Disability: physical, developmental, visual, hearing, or mental, Neurologic conditions (including dementia), Down Syndrome, Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines, Liver disease (including hepatitis), Pregnancy, Obesity: BMI ≥30 kg/m2, Schizophrenia spectrum disorders, Sickle Cell Disease, Thalassemia, persons with disabilities
Clergy and religious organizations
Clergy, church workers, and religious organizations
Workers supporting the energy sector, including those involved in energy manufacturing, distribution, repair
Banks; currency exchanges; consumer lending; credit unions; appraisers; title companies; financial markets; financial institutions; institutions that sell financial services; accounting services, and insurance services
Food and beverage service
Restaurant and other facilities that prepare and serve food (including bars); entities that provide food services
Workers in educational institutions – including junior colleges, four-year colleges, and universities, technical schools, trade schools, educational support services, and administration of education programs
Information technology and communications
Internet, video and telecommunications systems, consumer electronics repair, computer and office machine repair
Workers providing legal services or supporting the operations of the judicial system, including judges, lawyers, paralegals, legal assistants, process servers, couriers, bail bond agents, parole officers, probation offices, court personnel, and others providing legal assistance or performing legal functions
Newspapers, periodicals, television, radio, and other media services, news dealers and newsstands, broadcasting, news syndicates, printing, and book publishers
Other community- or government-based operations and essential functions
Other governmental employees; community based essential functions (e.g. urban planning, offices that provide basic needs such as food, childcare, shelter, and social services); workers in libraries
Personal care services and hygiene
Businesses that provide personal care services, such as hair, nails, and non-medical massage.
Laundromats, dry cleaners, industrial laundry services, and laundry service providers
Public health entities; pharmaceutical, medical device and equipment, and biotechnology companies
Workers that ensure public safety systems function properly, including building inspectors, civil engineers, chemical engineers, aerospace engineers and hazardous materials responders. Workers who construct and maintain roads, highways, railroads, and ports. Cybersecurity operations workers
Workers in retail stores including but not limited to stores that sell alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, medication not requiring a medical prescription, other non-grocery products (e.g. electronics, optical goods, books, etc.), other household consumer products, wholesalers, licensed cannabis dispensaries and cultivation centers
Shelter and housing
Hardware stores and businesses; construction and maintenance of buildings, real estate; hotel and motel workers
Transportation and logistics
Workers at gas stations; auto and bike supply and repair; businesses that supply shipping and delivery services; couriers; warehouses; private mail; Airline workers not included in 1b; workers in rail, water, truck, charter bus transportation or transportation rental
Water and wastewater
Workers involved in wastewater treatment and operations; sanitary and storm maintenance crews performing emergency and essential maintenance of systems
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