The City of Chicago is not receiving enough vaccine to expand phase 1b eligibility. There are 713,000 Chicagoans (363,000 seniors 65+ and 350,000 essential workers) currently in phase 1b. However, we have only received 218,250 first doses since we began phase 1b on January 25, 2021. That is only enough vaccine to administer a first dose to 31% of Chicagoans eligible in phase 1b.
The 713,000 figure does not include people already eligible from phase 1a who are now deciding to be vaccinated or non-Chicago residents who work and are vaccinated in Chicago.
If Chicago expanded eligibility, it would add hundreds of thousands of more people seeking vaccine in Chicago, without increasing the amount of available vaccine. This would mean those currently eligible, including seniors, frontline essential workers and those in our most heavily COVID-burdened communities, would have an even harder time getting a vaccine.
We are working to get as many people vaccinated as quickly and efficiently as possible. At this time, we simply do not receive enough vaccine doses to expand eligibility beyond our current categories, which include 1b (seniors 65+ and frontline essential workers) plus those still eligible from 1a (healthcare workers and long-term care workers and residents). Chicago residents under the age of 65 with at-risk medical conditions will become eligible for vaccination in phase 1c. 1c is expected to begin March 29.
Everyone will receive a vaccine when it is their turn. We look forward to expanding vaccine eligibility as soon as we get more vaccine supply.
All Chicago vaccine eligibility decisions are based on guidance and recommendations from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.