CHICAGO (CBS) — While adults in Chicago who have underlying health conditions will have to wait until the end of the month to qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine, those living in the Cook County suburbs will be able to get a shot starting Monday.
The Cook County Department of Public Health said it will move to the so-called “Phase 1B+” of the vaccination plan on Monday. That will expand vaccine eligibility to people with serious underlying health conditions including cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, heart conditions, a compromised immune system due to an organ transplant, obesity, pulmonary disease, and sickle cell disease; as well as pregnant women, the disabled, and smokers.READ MORE: Naperville District 203 Among Suburban High Schools Dealing With Spikes In COVID-19
“Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen great progress in vaccinating vulnerable groups in phase 1B, including our seniors. This is reflected in the numbers, which indicate that more than 68 percent of individuals 65 and older in suburban Cook County have received at least one dose,” Dr. Rachel Rubin, Senior Medical Officer and co-lead at Cook County Department of Public Health said in a statement.
All state-supported mass vaccination sites in the suburbs will be included in the expansion, and the county is urging any suburban vaccine providers to follow suit.
Illinois residents who meet Phase 1B+ requirements will be able to register for appointments at mass vaccination sites in suburban Cook County at vaccine.cookcountyil.gov. Appointments will open up starting at noon Friday.READ MORE: Loretto Hospital Gets COVID Vaccine Again, Following Controversy Over Non-Eligible People Getting Shots
Until now, only people eligible under Phase 1A and Phase 1B of the vaccination plan were eligible for shots in suburban Cook County — including healthcare workers, longterm care facility residents and staff, frontline essential workers, and people age 65 and older.
Most of the rest of the state moved to the so-called “Phase 1B+” of the vaccination plan on Feb. 25, although the city of Chicago, Cook County suburbs, and a handful of other towns and counties did not expand their vaccine eligibility at the time.
The announcement of suburban Cook County’s move to Phase 1B+ comes on the same day Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the city of Chicago would move to Phase 1C of the vaccination plan on March 29. Phase 1C includes people 16 to 64 with underlying conditions and essential workers who weren’t already eligible in previous phases (such as restaurant staff, clergy, legal workers, media, retail workers, and more).MORE NEWS: Uber Reminding Riders Masks Are Still Required; Mask Enforcement Tips Sent To Drivers
Cook County officials said they expect to announce plans to move to Phase 1C “in the near future.”