Illinois COVID Vaccine Today: State to Expand Vaccine Eligibility to All on April 12, Sources Say

CHICAGO (WLS) – Governor JB Pritzker will announce Thursday that Illinois will expand eligibility for the vaccine next month to anyone 16 years of age or older beginning April 12, sources told ABC7.

Due to limited vaccine supplies, not everyone who is eligible that day will be able to get vaccinated on the first day they are eligible.

Sources tell ABC7 that Governor Pritzker also plans to announce that the state will add a bridge phase between Phases 4 and 5 that will be science-based, but offer incremental approaches toward Phase 5.

The passage between Phase 4 and 5 will allow greater capacity limits for bars and restaurants, social gatherings, museums and zoos, etc., depending on whether they are indoors or outdoors. Bars in particular will be allowed 20% standing capacity, but six-foot social distancing will still be necessary.

The decision comes after weeks of meetings …

“We are working with the leaders of the industry,” said Governor Pritzker. “We are working with our doctors at IDPH and with other experts in the state.”

Details of the bridge plan, including when it will begin, will be announced during a press conference Thursday morning by the governor.

SEE ALSO | Chicago Phase 1C Vaccine Start Date Set for March 29

Chicago also announced Wednesday that it will expand vaccine eligibility to Phase 1C on March 29.

“I’m excited because I’ve been trying and I can’t get it,” said Christopher Hunt, owner of Seek Vintage. “So now that means I can get it.”

And along with retail workers, those in hospitality, personal care services, law building and more are eligible in phase 1C.

Hotel workers are also eligible, at a time when the city is poised to reopen conventions.

“To make sure our staff has access to this vaccine before we start welcoming more and more guests, I think the two go hand in hand,” said Michael Jacobson, president and CEO of Illinois Hotel & Lodging Assoc. .

In 1C, Chicagoans ages 16-64 are also eligible, but only if they have chronic illnesses. The state will lift that health requirement for that group on April 12, but it’s unclear whether the city will do so as well.

Suburban Cook County is expanding its eligibility effective Monday, March 22, as the county moves to Phase 1B +, ​​which includes people under 65 with underlying conditions.

Cook County public health officials said the decision was made in part based on the promise of more vaccine doses on the way.

“We’ve gotten some hints that the supply is going to increase, and yes, that did influence our decision making,” said Dr. Kiran Joshi, Cook County Department of Public Health.

The county said nearly 70% of its seniors have received at least one dose and that progress is also leading to this expansion announcement.

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