COVID-19 vaccine eligibility expansion starts Thursday in parts of Illinois

Local News

In this Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021 file photo, a pharmacist prepares a syringe with Pfizer’s vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination site in New York. (Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)

CHICAGO (WGN) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced that starting Thursday, eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine will expand to younger residents with certain health issues.

However, the change in eligibility isn’t happening in Chicago or neighboring cities because city officials said they don’t have enough shots to give out.

Under the Phase 1B plan, people 16-64 years old could qualify for the vaccine if they are dealing with the following conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Pulmonary diseases
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Heart conditions
  • Solid organ transplant
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease

Illinois has an estimated 3.2 million people who would qualify in the 1B group.

Because of limited doses, Chicago joins Skokie as well as Cook, Lake, DuPage and Will counties who are not moving forward into the 1B phase.

When it comes to pharmacies, Walmarts in Chicago said they will not expand to the 1B phase. Walgreens and Mariano’s  said they will follow what the counties are doing.

We have heard that Jewel-Osco will follow state guidelines and expand to the 1B phase at their pharmacies.

State officials want people to get vaccinated in their county and are relying on the honor system for people trying to get vaccinated.

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