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Here’s what we know about distributing and registering COVID vaccines in Illinois



Illinois has followed a step-by-step plan for the distribution of available COVID-19 vaccine doses since the first vaccine was approved on December 11th. So far, the FDA has approved the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and the one developed by Moderna.

The state’s distribution plan adapted to federal guidelines for prioritizing health personnel and residents in long-term care facilities. Governor Pritzker announced on January 6 that the state would violate federal guidelines and begin vaccinating residents over the age of 65. Federal recommendations have since been updated to cover people over the age of 65.

Illinois̵

7; plan includes two phases that are divided into sub-phases based on delivery and who is eligible for a shot. Phase 1, when there are still a limited number of available doses, contains sub-phases 1a, 1b and 1c.

The first vaccination shipment arrived in Illinois on December 14, and Phase 1a began the next day with vaccinations by health professionals throughout the state.

Phase 1b extends entitlement to residents over the age of 65 along with key workers such as firefighters, grocery workers, teachers and inmates.

Phase 1c, still under the limited supply of vaccines, extends entitlement to persons between 16 and 64 years of age with high-risk health conditions. It also includes additional categories of important workers.

When supply increases sufficiently, vaccination will open up to the remaining population of Illinois over 16 years of age. The use of COVID-19 vaccines for young children has not yet been approved.

An overview of the state plan with detailed explanations of who may be eligible in each step of Phase 1 is available here.

So far, most local health departments and the Illinois Department of Public Health do not provide specific estimates of when people may receive vaccines. Public health departments in Chicago and its crow-counties have released various degrees of examinations and registration tools. For information on each of these tools, see the links for each county below.

The city of Chicago is currently vaccinating health workers, but officials announced Jan. 8 that they would proceed to vaccinate residents over the age of 65. So far, no surveys or registration tools have been released for non-healthcare professionals in Chicago.

Officials with health clinics that are not affiliated with a hospital system are encouraged to complete the city survey to get more information on where and when they can be vaccinated.

If you are a health care worker or other category of important worker and either live or work in the suburbs of Cook County, you can complete this survey to indicate interest in receiving the vaccine. The Cook County Department of Public Health will provide more information about the time of vaccination when it becomes available.

If you are an administrator or director of a health facility or other important workplace, the Cook County Department of Public Health has released a separate survey to measure employers’ interest in vaccinating their workforce. You can access this survey here.

As vaccine supplies increase, Cook County will follow state guidelines for opening vaccinations to the general public. Most of these vaccinations are performed in hospitals, clinics and retail pharmacies.

The DuPage County Health Department follows the state’s incremental vaccination guidelines. While the first phase is limited to key workers, seniors and high-risk individuals, officials expect vaccinations to open up more widely in Phase 2 when there is a greater supply.

If you are a major employee, over the age of 65, or under the age of 65, but have a high-risk medical condition, the DuPage County Health Department asks you to complete this survey to receive weekly updates on when a vaccine appointment will be available. Note that this does not count towards signing up or planning a vaccination appointment.

Kane County residents can complete a survey with updates and information on when vaccines will be available to them. The study is not limited to healthcare providers or other key employees.

All Lake County residents can use the county’s online registration system to be notified when the COVID-19 vaccine is available to them.

The county released their AllVax portal, which differs from the surveys offered by other counties. The Lake County system allows residents to enter their information, and if they are eligible for a vaccine, they will be able to schedule an appointment immediately. Otherwise, they will be notified when they become qualified.

Lake County says it has already had over 175,000 residents sign up through their portal, or approx. 25% of the county’s population.

The McHenry County Vaccine Test is for healthcare providers living and working in McHenry County only. The form does not count as registration for a vaccine and only signals interest in more information when it is available.

If you are a major employee but not a healthcare provider, over the age of 65, or have a high-risk medical condition, McHenry County has a separate study to complete. This study also shows interest in the vaccine, but is not a registration form.

Finally, if you are a resident of McHenry County but do not fall into any of the categories above, the health department has another form that you can fill out to receive vaccine updates and notifications when they are available to you. This form can be found here, halfway down the page.

The Will County Health Department also adheres to the state’s incremental vaccination method, but they explicitly state that all Will County residents must complete this survey.

Once someone is eligible to be vaccinated, based on the step-by-step plan, Will County Health will contact those who completed the study to schedule an appointment.

“Be patient, we will contact you when it is your turn,” the department says on its website.


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