Inoculating all 850,000 health care workers and long-term care facility residents in Illinois from COVID-19 will be “substantially complete” next week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Friday, allowing health departments across the state to begin the next phase of the vaccination effort on Jan. 25. This means Illinois residents 65 and older as well as frontline essential workers will get doses of the coveted vaccine, Pritzker said.
1.3 million essential workers in Illinois, includes police officers, grocery store workers, transit workers and child care providers. Another 1.9 million Illinois residents are 65 or older, according to data provided by the state.
Local health departments who have “substantially completed” efforts to vaccinate health care workers and long-term care facility residents can start vaccinating Illinois residents 65 and older as well as essential workers immediately “to leave no vaccine on the shelves,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.
City of Chicago health officials will allow residents 65 and older to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting Monday — providing doses are available after health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities are vaccinated, officials said.
The city’s guidance for health care workers encourages doctors to prioritize older Chicagoans with health issues that put them at risk from severe illness or death from the coronavirus for the first available shots.
Vaccination clinics will open at hundreds of additional pharmacy sites on Monday and the Illinois National Guard will help staff local health department vaccination sites starting Tuesday, according to the governor’s statement. Those sites will only vaccinate health care workers for the next week, officials said.
However, members of the guard will be slower to deploy to vaccination sites than planned after Pritzker’s decision to send an additional 100 members of the Illinois National Guard to Washington, D.C. to protect the inauguration, joining approximately 200 members of the guard that were previously activated by the governor.
An additional 250 members of the Illinois National Guard will be