COVID Illinois: IL enters new phase of coronavirus vaccinations Monday

CHICAGO (WLS) -- With Illinois starting Phase 1B of vaccinations Monday, there are new moves being made with the hopes of ramping up vaccine distribution as the country lags behind goals set by the Trump administration.

The next phase means anyone over 65 years old and a larger group of essential workers will be eligible for getting the COVID-19 vaccine. That group includes people in correctional facilities, grocery store workers, daycare workers and educators.

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On January 25th Illinois takes a step forward to phase 1B in the state's Covid-19 vaccination plan.

While that's cause for some celebration, there are still concerns about the speed at which shots can be given out.

Where can you get vaccinated?

If you're in any of those groups, there are four places eligible residents can get vaccinated.

The majority will go through their health care provider, while others will have to go through pharmacies, mass vaccination sites or through their employer.

However, before you head to any of those locations, officials warn that vaccines will be by appointment only.

"Don't try to line up at your local store or call your local pharmacy. When we have a steady stream of vaccine coming in from the federal government, we will launch walk in locations and round the clock operations," Gov. JB Pritzker said on Friday.

CLICK HERE: Coronavirus Illinois: COVID vaccine distribution by county, region

Officials said people can expect it to take time before you can even get an appointment, because there simply isn't enough vaccine to meet demand.

"There are 3.2 million Illinoisans in phase 1B, so there will be far greater demand than supply for at least the near term," Gov. Pritzker added.

Supply vs Demand

The lack of supplies is impacting a both the city and state level.

So far the Illinois is reporting that more than 680,000 vaccines have been administered so far.

State health officials are already building the capacity so as soon as more vaccine arrives, they will be ready. That includes creating a website to sign up for appointments.

Vaccine Finder website

"We have to make sure that the community is engaged because ultimately if the trust factor isn't there with the community and our government officials, it's not going to work," said Little Village resident Juan Rangel.

The Equitable Vaccines Coalition is a growing group of educators, leaders of community based organizations and facility operators. Sunday, they called for an accelerated process to get vaccines to communities hit hardest by the pandemic.

"We have everybody here to make sure all hands on deck right now, to make sure when the vaccines come we're able to use those vaccines to put in the arms of folks," said Dr. Tariq Butt with the Chicago Medical Society.

RELATED: Seniors face technological hurdles making COVID-19 vaccine appointments online

"What better way than bringing community in; faith based, schools - absolutely, that is an essential way of trying to reach the community in the most trusting manner," said Representative Lisa Hernandez, (D) 24th District.

Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible for the vaccine just yet, as there are still a few more things that need to get done before those who are currently eligible can get their first shot.

State health authorities are asking for patience since there aren't enough vaccines right now.

President Biden is now trying to address that by ramping up production with a new goal of getting 100 million people vaccinated in the first 100 days of his administration. However, some doctors said we should be able to go beyond that.

RELATED: 6 mass vaccination sites to open in Chicago next week, Lightfoot says

"That's a floor, it's not a ceiling. It's also a goal that reflects the reality of what we face," said Dr. Vivek Murthy, Pres. Biden's nominee for Surgeon General.

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On January 25th Illinois takes a step forward to phase 1B in the state's Covid-19 vaccination plan.

Both the city and the state are expected to provide more details on where to sign up for the vaccine in the coming days.
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