COVID-19 Vaccine rollout for ages 16 and older

  As a part of Illinois’s previous phase, 1B plan, frontline healthcare workers and people ages 65 and older with pre-existing conditions were allowed to get the COVID-19 vaccine. As Illinois entered phase 1C on March 29, 2021, any other essential workers and residents ages 16 to 64 with underlying medical conditions were able to receive the vaccine. 

 Now, Illinois will expand the eligibility to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to anyone age 16 and over, starting April 12, 2021. The order will apply to suburban Chicago, excluding the City of Chicago, as it receives separate vaccine distributions, monitored by the mayor and city health department. 

 This plan is ahead of President Biden’s original intention for states to allow all adults to be eligible by May 1, as most regions have received or are expected to receive a surplus of vaccine doses. 

 “The number one goal for the state is to get as many people vaccinated, as quickly and safely as possible in order to stay ahead of variants,”  IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in an IDPH (Illinois Department of Public Health) statement. “This shift is similar to what we saw when expanding vaccine eligibility from Phase 1B to Phase 1B+ where some parts of the state were ready to move forward, while others were not. Each county is different and local health departments know better how to vaccinate people in their communities as soon as and as equitably as possible.”

Currently, the FDA has only authorized the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine use for 16-year-olds and older. Both the Modera and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for individuals age 18 and over. All vaccine makers will continue to test their products on teenagers and monitor the effects. 

As more of our population gets vaccinated, new regulations will be placed to ensure the safety of citizens. Illinois hopes to move to a bridge face, where many regulations will be lifted and more opportunities will be available once a certain percentage of citizens are fully vaccinated.