Illinois begins Phase 1B of vaccine rollout

Illinois will enter Phase 1B of their COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort on Monday, the Department of Health announced on Wednesday.

The second phase of the vaccine rollout will include frontline, non-medical, essential workers and any Illinoisan over the age of 65. Gov. J.B. Pritzker lowered the minimum age of eligibility to 65 from 75 last week.

 

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A Department of Health Spokesperson said on Wednesday that some counties in Illinois may begin the next phase early as they have already completed Phase 1A.

Almost 3 percent of Illinoisans have been vaccinated since the COVID-19 vaccine’s first became available in December. The state has been allocated 920,225 doses of the vaccine by the federal government. Over 350,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered in the state thus far, around 40 percent of the state’s total allocation.

The first phase of the state’s vaccination effort included health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities.

Prisoners and prison staff in the state are not yet eligible for the vaccine and will not be in Phase 1B. Activists, legislators and some prison staff in the state have pushed the legislature to prioritize those groups. More than 3,700 prison staff members and 9,600 offenders have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March.

Illinois eclipsed the 1 million total case mark earlier this month.  Cook County, which includes Chicago, accounts for over 400,000 cases and nearly 9,000 COVID-19 deaths in the state. About 20,000 Illinoisans have died from COVID-19.