Beginning Feb. 25, all Illinois residents with underlying health conditions or disabilities are expected to be eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced today.
That will include people with diabetes, those who have or had cancer, COPD or heart disease, Pritzker said after touring a new mass vaccination site in Quincy.
For now, about 4 million of the state’s 12.7 million residents have been given the green light to sign up for shots — if they’re able to track down an appointment to get one of the coveted doses that remain in short supply.
Eligible residents so far include health care workers, nursing home residents and workers, some other “front-line essential” workers and any residents 65 or older. The expanded Phase 1B will do away with the age requirement for those with underlying conditions, though it’s not clear how large that population is.
“Those who are under 65 and live with co-morbidities have an elevated risk of serious complications or even death,” Pritzker said. “We need to waste no time in protecting them.
Doses have still been hard to come by for eligible Illinoisans, however. About 2.1 million doses have been shipped to the state over the past two months, with about 1.4 million already administered.
Only 311,589 people have received both required doses, or about 2.5% of the Illinois population. The Illinois Department of Public Health is aiming to vaccinate 80% of the population to achieve herd immunity.