Chicago expands COVID vaccine eligibility to 1C Monday as cases rise

Chicago News
RIVER GROVE, Ill. (WLS) — As Chicago gets ready to move into the next phase of its vaccination plan, some of those already with appointments waited patiently for their turn outside the United Center — one of the few sites to operate a Sunday schedule.

“I’m happy. I have to do it. I have an elderly mom at home and she can’t come out right now and I have to make sure she’s OK,” said Debra McGee, who got her vaccine Sunday.

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“I feel much better now,” added Israel Contreras, who also got his 1st dose at the United Center. “But trust me, I can’t wait to get the second one and move on.”

As of Monday, hundreds of thousands of additional Chicagoans will join the list of those already qualified. The next group includes anyone over the age of 16 with underlying conditions and all essential workers who were not previously included.

With the expansion to 1C, the majority of the Chicago’s adult population is now eligible to get a vaccine. However, officials continuing to urge patience as eligibility does not guarantee an immediate appointment.

“It took me a while,” said Michelle Gerol. “The process was a little frustrating, but once I got it, it was like finding the good ticket from the Willy Winka movie.”

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Elsewhere across the state, eligibility continues to vary based on vaccine availability. Cook County has yet to announce when it will open access to those in 1C, but did make 25,000 new appointments available at four of its mass vaccination sites Sunday afternoon. Anyone eligible under phases 1A, 1B, 1B+ and approved essential workers was able to sign up for the shot due to new state guidelines, however, those appointments were booked up in just under two hours.

For those who were able to snag an appointment, the shots will be given at Triton College, South Suburban College, Des Plaines and Forest Park.

In addition, anyone previously classified as 1C in higher education, government, media, restaurants, construction trades, and religious leaders, will be eligible to schedule an appointment.

The eligibility and appointment expansion comes just as the city and state experience a significant uptick in the number of cases diagnosed. In Chicago alone, the daily case rate has gone up by a 50% increase over the last week.

To date, two million Illinois residents, which is 16% of the state population, have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The state has been vaccinating over 99,000 people a day on average.

Gov. JB Pritzker said he may be forced to rethink his approach to fully reopening the state fully, which it was on pace to start next week.

Appointments can be made at vaccine.cookcountyil.gov or by calling 833-308-1988, Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. The call center will be open Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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