The most asked question currently in Chicago, Illinois is: When will I get the COVID vaccine?
To the relief of citizens, it was announced by J.B Pritzker that the eligibility phase will expand to all the residents over the age of 16 outside of Chicago in April, which is just a few days away.
Before you point a finger at the cornering of Chicago in this expansion, let it be clear that Chicago was treated on a different schedule of eligibility phase than Illinois. Therefore, policies made by the state government were different for Chicago and Illinois.
However, apart from the eligibility expansion that is supposed to happen in April, as per the announcement, some people are already eligible or will become eligible before the announced month.
That being said, majority of the Illinois, including Chicago, is still operating under the guidelines of Phase 1B. Although the majority of the states will advance further when the time comes, Chicago is set to remain in Phase 1B as city officials have decided not to include in the expansion of the rest of Illinois. That decision was fear because, one, the condition of Chicago is apparently worse—with the identification of a new strain of the virus—and, two, the city runs on a different timetable from the start.
But the citizens shouldn’t worry about that, because Chicago is set to advance further in a few days. Last Monday, Illinois officials extended their eligibility criteria to essential frontline workers who were not supposed to get the vaccine before their eligibility phase of vaccination for all adults. However, due to their intense exposure to the environment and unstoppable employment needs, they became part of the vaccination. More people are set to become eligible by 29th March.
Moreover, Chicago is also supposed to move into the vaccination Phase 1C by 29th March. That will open the gates to more essential workers and the residents of Chicago to get the vaccine with particular qualifying conditions of health.
People who are currently eligible in Illinois and Chicago are healthcare workers, long-term care facility staff and residents, people over the age of 65, and frontline workers—those who carry a higher risk of infection due to their constant exposure to the environment because of their job. This includes educational staff, first responders, food and agricultural workers, people in the manufacturing industry, corrections workers and inmates, courier workers, public transport workers, grocery store employees, and staff of shelters and daycares.
The mass vaccination site in Chicago is United Center for eligible residents, and separate limited appointments are set aside for seniors.
After the expansion of the eligibility throughout Illinois—with Chicago advancing in Phase 1C—the eligibility will extend to restaurant staff, construction workers, and religious leaders.
Apart from vaccination, testing for COVID is also important, so the people with a high risk of transmission can be identified and treated specially. For vaccines and tests, visit Free Test and Vaccine in Chicago.