By Jim Williams

CHICAGO (CBS) — Beginning today, those under 65 with medical conditions will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as Phase 1B expands in Illinois — except in some counties including Cook and DuPage.

“When you see what’s happening in the news and everything, you do get nervous and worried about all of that,” said Peter Lantvit.

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Lantvit, 62, is even more worried because he has heart disease. He didn’t get very far when he tried to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It kicks you out immediately,” he said. “As soon as you tell them your age, they kick you out.”

Melissa Giovacchini has a compromised immune system.

“I’m anxious to get it and to live a bit more normal,” she said. “Obviously still being careful but right now I’m isolated. I don’t go anywhere because of my immune system.”

She too tried to get the shots and thought she might be successful. She was not.

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“I got my appointment. Then I read through it, and it said I’m not eligible,” she said. “So I canceled it.”

But starting Feb. 25 both Melissa and Peter, who live in the west and north suburbs, will be eligible for the vaccine. Gov. JB Pritzker is expanding vaccine eligibility for those younger than 65 with pre-existing conditions.

However, it’s likely to remain a challenge to get the vaccine. Citing the slow rollout of the shots nationally, Advocate Aurora Health told CBS 2 it will continue prioritize people 65 and older. And it’s the same at Northwestern Memorial Hospital based on what it calls “vaccine allotment.”

Still Peter Lantvit, whose wife and grandson both had COVID, thinks his odds are better now.

“Oh yes, my wife will definitely be relieved,” he said.

And Giovacchini, concerned about her health and the health of her parents, plans to aggressively search for the vaccine this week.

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“I’ve been checking every day to see if I actually get one, so Thursday I’ll definitely be going on and getting it,” she said.