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Why Chicago, Cook refuse to join the state's vaccine expansion
“Given the limited supply of vaccine, we must also make the tough choices," say Lightfoot and Preckwinkle.

Thursday, February 11, 2021
Crain's Chicago Business
by Stephanie Goldberg

The state is getting ready to expand vaccine eligibility to younger people with underlying medical conditions, but the city of Chicago and suburban Cook County aren’t quite there yet.

In a joint statement today, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said there aren’t enough doses coming in to expand eligibility now, and they remain focused on inoculating people covered under Phases 1A and 1B, including essential workers and those 65 and older. See the latest COVID figures for the city and state, including the status of the vaccine rollout, in the charts below.

Starting Feb. 25, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said health departments that have "substantially completed” vaccinating people covered under Phase 1B can start inoculating people under age 65 with high-risk medical conditions, such as cancer and diabetes.

“As quickly as we receive enough vaccine supply, we need to waste no time in protecting a broader section of our most vulnerable population,” Pritzker said in a statement.

But opening up the vaccine rollout in Chicago and Cook County “would add well over 1 million additional people to 1B,” today's joint statement from Lightfoot and Preckwinkle says. “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.”

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady this week said the entire city is getting just 6,000 first doses of vaccine per day. However, there are more than 700,000 Chicagoans eligible for vaccination under Phase 1B. That’s in addition to health care workers who remain eligible to get shots under the first phase of the rollout, which started late last year.

“These phases were established after careful study and consideration, and are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention,” Lightfoot and Preckwinkle said in the statement. “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.”

So far, more than 1.4 million doses have been administered in the state and 327,413 people, or 2.6 percent of Illinois’ population, have been fully vaccinated—meaning they’ve received two doses, according to state data.

Meanwhile, 282,214 doses have been administered in the city of Chicago and 270,056 doses have been administered in Cook County.

Current Chicago vaccine status VIEW STATS



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