CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s mayor said the city is ready to start Phase 1C of the COVID vaccination process, which now includes people who are 16 years old and older who have underlying health conditions, and essential workers who were not previously eligible for shots.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the latest vaccine expansion means a million more Chicagoans will be able to get the vaccine.

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“Today, we have reached an important milestone in our journey on COVID with COVID-19. Since the first day the vaccines arrived in our city last year in December, we’ve been able to feel the warmth of light at the end of a very long dark tunnel. We started vaccinating with our healthcare workers in Phase 1A, and then a month later at the end of January of this year, we began vaccinating our frontline essential workers and our seniors. And today, we are excited to expand eligibility to all of our essential workers and residents aged 16 to 64 with underlying medical conditions,” Lightfoot said. “What this means is about 84% of adults in Chicago, are now eligible to receive this life saving vaccine.”

Last week, the mayor said that despite the continued vaccine rollout, people should not let their guards down when it comes to safety. On Monday, she said she was troubled by the most recent COVID numbers in Chicago that continue to trend upward.

“It was about three weeks ago that we were on a downward trend, and we were seeing daily case rates in the 200s. Today, we’re over 400 average new cases a day. And our percent positivity, which was the lowest that it had ever been in the pandemic, in the 2s, is now back to 4%, positivity. This is obviously a very troubling trend that is being driven by adults 18 to 39, who are primarily on the North and Northwest Sides of our city; in our Lincoln Park Old Town, Dunning, and Portage Park neighborhoods,” said Lightfoot, who also urged patience when scheduling a vaccine appointment.

“We are bringing about a million more people into eligibility. We don’t have a million more doses, coming to Chicago, but we are hopeful that the federal government will make good on what they told us, which is that more vaccine is coming in on the horizon,” Lightfoot said. “Be patient, because you will get your turn. We are determined to make sure that we get every single eligible person in the city of Chicago, vaccinated, but it will take time, but be patient, and we will get there.”

Who is eligible under Phase 1C? According to the city, those 16-64 with underlying medical conditions such as:

  • Cancer (current diagnosis)
  • Cardiac, cardiovascular, and cerebrovascular disorders (including heart disease, coronary artery disease, and hypertension or high blood pressure)
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Chronic respiratory disorders (including cystic fibrosis, moderate to severe asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/emphysema [COPD])
  • Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)
  • Disability: physical, developmental, visual, hearing, or mental
  • Neurologic conditions (including dementia)
  • Down Syndrome
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Liver disease (including hepatitis)
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity: BMI ≥30 kg/m2
  • Schizophrenia spectrum disorders
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Thalassemia

Also included are all essential workers who didn’t qualify in previous phases:

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  • Clergy and religious organizations
  • Energy
  • Finance
  • Food and beverage service
  • Higher Education
  • Information Technology and communications
  • Legal
  • Media
  • Other Community- or Government-based Operations and Essential Functions
  • Personal Care Services and hygiene
  • Public health
  • Public safety
  • Retail
  • Shelter and Housing
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Water and wastewater

The announcement was made at the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399 at 2260 S. Grove St. in Chicago, which will serve as a vaccination site dedicated to union essential workers.

 

The site is expected to administer around 1,200 vaccinations per week and extra capacity will be installed as the supply of vaccine increases. Those union workers wanting to get a vaccine have to live and work in Chicago, hold a current union card or be a union retiree, and meet the city’s current eligibility requirements for the vaccine.

Click here for more information on the Phase 1C of the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff