COVID-19 vaccine update: Chicago, Cook County won't be expanding Phase 1B eligibility

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago and Cook County will not be joining other parts of Illinois in expanding Phase 1B eligibility for COVID vaccines, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced Thursday.

The announcement comes one day after Governor JB Pritzker said Illinois would begin expanding Phase 1B eligibility on February 25 to people over 16 with certain medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart conditions.

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In a joint statement, Lightfoot and Preckwinkle said, "Our goal is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly and efficiently as possible. That said, our greatest challenge in doing so is the very limited supply of vaccine we are receiving. While we are making progress every day with vaccinating people in 1a and 1b, at this time we are not being supplied with enough doses that would allow us to expand eligibility in these phases.

"Doing so in Chicago and Cook County would add well over one million additional people to 1b, and the result would be that 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.

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"These phases were established after careful study and consideration, and are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We recognize the Governor must make tough choices and consider needs across this diverse state, but given the limited supply of vaccine, we must also make the tough choices as the leaders of the most populous city and county in the state. We look forward to expanding eligibility as vaccine supply improves."
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