COVID-19 in Illinois: vaccine eligibility expanded to include those with serious medical conditions, 1,984 new cases reported

Wabash Valley COVID-19 updates

In this Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021 file photo, a pharmacist prepares a syringe with Pfizer’s vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination site in New York. (Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)

CHICAGO – Sighting a significantly increased supply on the way from the federal government and that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine poised for approval, the Pritzker administration Thursday asked all local health departments and providers to begin vaccinating those with serious medical conditions as soon as possible.

“As states and cities across the country expand eligibility for the vaccine, it’s vital that the most medically vulnerable like those with heart disease, lung disease and cancer have access to the vaccine, regardless of their age,” Gov. JB Pritzker said. “I’m thrilled to see that we can effectively administer more than 100,000 doses a day, and with the federal supply projected to hit 100,000 doses delivered daily in mid-March, we must be prepared to vaccinate this population as quickly as possible.”

The expansion includes residents 16 and older with disabilities or underlying conditions who aren’t otherwise covered in previous eligibility categories, in accordance with CDC guidelines.

In accordance with the CDC guidelines, the expanded list of eligible conditions will include cancer, chronic kidney disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), diabetes, heart conditions, immunosuppressed states from a solid organ transplant, smoking, obesity, pregnancy, pulmonary diseases, and sickle cell disease.

Effective immediately, state-supported sites outside of Cook County will begin taking appointments for the 1B+ phase. A complete  list of these sites can be found at https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/.

Appointments will remain limited as federal supply continues to steadily ramp up.

Beginning in mid-March, an additional 100,000 doses of vaccine per day on average are expected to be allocated to the state by the federal government. Also, when the FDA Emergency Use Authorization is granted for the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, another 100 million doses are expected to be delivered nationwide.

Also on Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 1,884 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 32 additional deaths. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 1,181,226 cases, including 20,406 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois.

On Wednesday, 130,021 doses were administered in Illinois, marking the highest reported amount of vaccines administered to date.

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