CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city’s vaccine rollout is moving on schedule, which will allow Chicago to start with Phase 1C in two weeks on March 29.

“This is good news for the tens of thousands who are anxiously awaiting their turn to get the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine,” Lightfoot said. “Because of the hard work and sacrifice of so many across our city, we have the opportunity to open up vaccine opportunity to more folks and that’s what we’re doing.”

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The mayor said she expects to get more vaccine for the city.

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. Lightfoot said those in the previously announced groups are still eligible to get the COVID vaccine. But she had a special message to Chicago’s senior citizen community.

“You need to get vaccinated. We need to continue that hard work of making sure that as many of our seniors as possible have access to the vaccine. So if you are eligible under the earlier phases, please don’t hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity to get vaccinated, contact your local health provider, or visit Zocdoc,” Lightfoot said.

She said despite the COVID vaccine rollout, people should not let their guard down and stop safe health practices.

“We’ve got to wear a face covering, when you go out, critically important. The most important tool that we have to help prevent the spread of the virus. It means you also have to continue social distancing not gathering in large groups, wash your hands frequently and avoid all non essential travel.”

Doctor Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Health Department said the city is ready to administer more vaccine as the supply increases. She said as of now, nearly one in four Chicagoans have received a COVID vaccine.

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“We have plans for scaling up more mass vaccination sites,” Arwady said. “We’ve just been waiting for vaccine, and we’ll keep a continued focus on reaching vulnerable Chicagoans like those who are homebound or less connected to medical care.”

The sign up can begin March 29, but Arwady said, realistically, people will start getting a COVID vaccine beginning in late April and early May. She urges people over 65 to register now for the vaccine, because it might be more difficult to get an appointment once Phase 1C opens up to more eligible people.

“This marks a major increase in eligibility. And that means that in April and May, we will be focused on vaccinating people with underlying conditions and essential workers, especially those who can’t work from home, but we’re going to keep our focus on anybody who didn’t get the vaccine yet in 1A or 1B, and continue to make sure that where people are getting a two dose vaccine series, they get that on time.

She said 1C will include “Chicagoans with underlying conditions that put them at increased risk for severe COVID outcomes. It also includes other essential workers with a focus on those who can’t work from home,” Arwady said.

“That includes warehouse and delivery workers restaurant and hotel workers, people who cut hair and do nails, construction retail workers and people who work in shelter and housing,” Arwady said.

The head of the CDPH said vaccine supply continues to increase, but the high demand is still there.

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“Besides what the city is directly receiving ,which is up to between 9,000 to 10,000 doses per day, now there are also direct federal allocations that are coming to pharmacies and to sites like the United Center,” Arwady said. “So we’re now getting more than twice as much vaccine as we were getting in Phase 1A.”

CBS 2 Chicago Staff