While Federal Distribution Remains Limited, State Builds Out Provider Infrastructure to Ensure Efficient and Equitable Distribution When Allocations Increase; Updated Sports Guidance is Released, Expanding Level of Play for All Sports Under Phase 4 of Res
CHICAGO — Building on the state’s progress in administering the COVID-19 vaccine, Governor JB Pritzker announced the state will move into the early stages of Phase 1B of the COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Plan beginning on Monday, January 25. While federal vaccine shipments to states remain limited, the state is aggressively building out provider capacity to ensure efficient distribution as soon as more vaccine becomes available. Illinois remains committed to distributing the vaccine in an equitable, accessible way and as a part of Phase 1B, all residents over the age of 65 and frontline essential workers can receive the vaccine. Illinois will begin vaccinating eligible residents by appointment only.
As the state substantially completes Phase 1A, Illinois has surpassed its daily vaccination record multiple times, most recently vaccinating more than 44,000 people in a 24-hour period. The state has administered more than 60 percent of its vaccine allocation outside of Chicago and not including the federal Pharmacy Partnership Program, and substantially more once data lag in the reported administrations is accounted for.
“Illinois is building capacity so that as the vaccine supply increases, we will be ready,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “As the nation awaits greater supplies and we ramp up vaccination sites, every Illinoisan can do their part to fight this pandemic with the tools we know to work – masking and distancing – and over the last 8 weeks we’ve all used those tools and made real progress. Enormous sacrifices are being made to achieve this progress, but those sacrifices are making a real difference.”
“As more vaccine is allocated to Illinois, and more people are eligible to be vaccinated, we are starting to see the finish line coming into focus,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “I am cautiously optimistic with the trends we are seeing in Illinois, but I want to stress how important it is for us to continue our public health actions of wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings. Getting to the end of this pandemic will be about the choices we make. The choice to wear our mask, the choice to keep our distance, and the choice to get vaccinated.”
Over 3.2 million Illinoisans are eligible for Phase 1B. Eligible residents will be able to receive a vaccine at one of the Illinois National Guard (ILNG) assisted sites, at a site operated by a local health department, or at a partner pharmacy. Walgreens is now online in limited number of sites statewide. CVS and Jewel-Osco will be coming online early next week and additional pharmacies such as Hy-Vee, Mariano’s, and Kroger will be joining later next week. Taken together, these pharmacy partners will provide hundreds of sites in every region of the state.
At this time, these sites will be available by appointment only. As the federal supply of vaccines increases and Illinois receives more vaccines, the state will launch walk-in locations and expand sites to additional providers like doctor’s offices and urgent care clinics. More information about those locations will be released in the coming weeks.
In addition, over 18 state and federal agencies, including the ILNG, the Illinois State Police, and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency personnel who could be assisting in COVID-19 response will be vaccinated at McCormick Place in Chicago and the Illinois State Police Academy in Springfield. These sites are not open to the public at this time.
Sports Guidance Under Phase 4
Working alongside the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), IDPH also announced sports guidance for all youth and adult recreational sports under Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan. Sports guidance under Phase 4 expands the level of play allowed for all sports to allow play at the intra-conference, region, or league levels.
While regions in the state continue to move toward Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan, the risk of a resurgence, particularly with new variants such as the U.K. variant remains serious. The state urges all Illinois residents to continue following guidance aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing a mask, reducing interactions outside the household, practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing, and receiving the COVID-19 vaccine when eligible.
IDPH will continue to closely monitor test positivity, ICU bed availability, and the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19. Should data show regions trending in the wrong direction, based on the established mitigation metrics, regions could once again find themselves in a higher tier with increased measures.