PVP vax 032921CHICAGO – The state is expecting to receive 1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government this week, and State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago), chair of the Senate Healthcare Access and Availability Committee, is encouraging Illinoisans over the age of 16 to get their shot as eligibility expands across the state.

“Now is the ideal time to get vaccinated if you haven’t already,” Van Pelt said. “As supplies of the vaccine increase and appointments become available, all who are eligible should make an appointment to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health has seen vaccine demand slow in several counties throughout the state. In order to reduce waste and combat a recent upward trend in COVID-19 hospitalizations and test positivity across Illinois, IDPH is authorizing those communities to begin vaccinating all residents 16 and older at their immediate discretion.

IDPH is also deploying mobile rapid response vaccination teams over the next two weeks to Carroll, Ogle, Boone, Lee and Whiteside Counties in Region 1. These mobile teams will be providing the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to county residents. Appointments will be coordinated by the local health department.

Residents of Region 1 are also encouraged to visit the existing mass vaccination site set up in Winnebago County.

“Dealing with this pandemic has been a long, rough year, and we are all anxious for the return of some sense of normalcy,” Van Pelt said. “Our best bet is to do our part, continue to social distance, wear our masks, and get vaccinated. The more people get vaccinated, the safer Illinois will be.”

Gov. JB Pritzker announced all Illinois residents over the age of 16 outside of Chicago will become eligible for the vaccine on or before April 12, with new state-supported vaccination sites opening in Kane County, Lake County and Will County over the next week. Residents should contact their local health department to find out who is eligible for the vaccine in their area.

Chicago receives its vaccine doses from the federal government allocated separately from the state, and as a result, the city is on a different rollout schedule from the rest of Illinois. Phase 2 of Chicago’s vaccine distribution plan, which includes all Chicagoans age 16 and older, was initially scheduled to begin May 29 following Phase 1C. However, Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner, recently announced that eligibility will likely expand to all adults by May 1, depending on the vaccine supply that the city receives.

Health officials last week warned of a concerning rise in metrics in Chicago after the city's daily case rate went up by nearly 50% in one week, with six days of increases in test positivity.