Vaccine Distribution Phases

Chicago Vaccine Distribution Phases

COVID-19 Vaccine Phases and Planning in Chicago

There will be a phased roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine in Chicago with a very limited supply at the beginning, so certain groups will be prioritized. Everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as it’s their turn. Supplies will increase over time and all adults will be able to get vaccinated later in 2021. Once a vaccination phase begins, people in that phase are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine indefinitely. Tentative dates are dependent on vaccine supply.

GOAL: Prevent COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths

  • Phase opens to whole group, with efforts to prioritize by COVID-19 risk in order below
  • Most vaccinated in residential and healthcare settings (e.g. clinics, hospitals, pharmacies)

GOAL: Preserve services essential to functioning of society and prevent COVID-19 outbreaks

  • Phase opens to whole group, with efforts to prioritize by COVID-19 risk in order below
  • Most vaccinated in employer-based settings

Long-term care and other residential healthcare facilities

  • Skilled Nursing Facilities
  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Behavioral health residential facilities
  • Developmentally disabled residential facilities

Healthcare workers

  • Hospital-based
  • Non-hospital based (e.g. doctors' offices, dentists' offices, outpatient clinics, laboratories, pharmacies, home health)
  • Community-based (e.g. Protect Chicago outreach)

Chicagoans age 65 and older

  • Chicagoans age 75 and older
  • Chicagoans age 65-74 with underlying medical conditions
  • All Chicagoans age 65 and older

Non-healthcare residential settings

  • Homeless shelters
  • Correctional settings
  • Other residential settings with local outbreaks

Frontline essential workers

  • Correctional workers and first responders
  • Grocery store workers and manufacturing/factory settings with outbreaks
  • Daycare, K-12 and early education workers
  • Public transit, other manufacturing, and agriculture workers
  • Continuity of government and postal workers
  • Caregivers of medically fragile children or adults

Chicagoans age 16-64 with underlying medical conditions

All other essential workers

All Chicagoans age 16* and older

*As vaccine is authorized for younger children, they will be added to the plan.

Definitions for Phase 1B groups


People 65 years of age and older

People 65 years of age and older; where possible, prioritizing Chicagoans 75 years and older and Chicagoans age 65-74 with underlying medical conditions


Non-healthcare residential settings

Homeless shelters, women’s shelters, adult day care programs, correctional settings (jail officers, juvenile facility staff, workers providing in-person support, detainees), and other non-healthcare residential settings that have experienced outbreaks (e.g. convents)


First Responders

Fire, law enforcement, 911 workers, security personnel, school officers


Grocery Store Workers

Baggers, cashiers, stockers, pick-up, customer service, those working in feeding or at food pantries



Teachers, principals, student support, and student aides at pre-K-12 schools, day care staff


Public Transit Workers

Bus drivers, train conductors, flight crews, taxi drivers and ride sharing services (workers that have worked an average of at least 20 hours per week for the last three months), and all persons working for local transit agencies unable to work from home



Industrial production of goods for distribution to retail, wholesale or other manufacturers


Food and Agriculture

Processing plants, veterinary health, livestock services, animal care, greenhouses and indoor locations where food is grown en masse



U.S. Postal Service Workers; City government leaders and City elected officials critical to maintain continuity of governmental operations and services



Parents, including foster parents, and other primary caregivers of medically fragile children or adults who live at home but require a level of ongoing medical care typically provided by a rehabilitation hospital or skilled nursing facility


*Sources: 2019 American Community Survey, Civilian employed population 16 years and older. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Annual Averages 2019. Personal communication with industry and residential settings. Statistica, Home Care in the U.S.

Many healthcare personnel have a high risk of being exposed to and getting sick with COVID-19. Early vaccine access is critical to ensuring the health and safety of this essential workforce of approximately 21 million people, protecting not only them but also their patients, communities, and the broader health of our country. 

Sign up for Chi COVID Coach to receive updates from CDPH about Chicago's vaccination distribution progress. You will receive updates on when the City moves through each phase and instructions on how to register for vaccination appointments. Chi COVID Coach is NOT a vaccine appointment website.

CDPH has been following federal and state guidance regarding COVID-19 vaccination priority, beginning vaccination with ACIP Phase 1a including healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities. Beginning Monday, January 25th, Chicago moved into Vaccination Phase 1b. 

We have ensured that vaccine is not wasted in Chicago. It has not been wasted in 1a and it will not be wasted in any vaccination phase. CDPH has successfully pushed out 96% of the vaccine Chicago has received.

Beginning Monday, January 25th, Chicago moved into Vaccination Phase 1b. This means we started to ramp up vaccination for Chicago residents 65+ and specific groups of highest-risk or front-line essential workers. It is anticipated that most people in group 1b will have vaccination opportunities in February or March, and they will remain eligible for vaccine indefinitely.

Think about how you get flu shots, because we’re using the same 4 channels here: health care providers, pharmacies, dedicated vaccination sites, and employers. We are hopeful that under the new federal administration more resources and support will be available and even more options will be available even more quickly.