Illinois to expand COVID vaccine elibility to anyone 16 and up on April 12

Governor J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday that all Illinois residents age 16 and over will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting April 12.
Governor J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday that all Illinois residents age 16 and over will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting April 12. Photo credit State of Illinois

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- In recognition of an increasing national vaccine supply and the state now averaging 100,000 vaccine administrations per day, Governor Pritzker announced Thursday that all Illinois residents age 16 and over will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting April 12.

Since the COVID-19 vaccine was first made available in Illinois last December, the state has administered over 4.3 million doses. Through partnerships with local health departments, pharmacies, community health centers, and other care providers, the state is currently administering an average of 100,000 vaccines each day.

So far, the state has administered the COVID-19 vaccine to more than one in four Illinois adults over the age of 16, including over 58 percent of Illinoisans ages 65 and over.

Since coming into office two months ago, the Biden Administration has taken the weekly vaccine distribution to states from 8.6 million when it came into office to over 16 million this week. Back in December, the first shipment that came into Illinois was about 109,000 doses.

Thanks to an increased allocation of vaccine doses from the federal government, all Illinois residents age 16 and over will be eligible to receive the vaccine beginning April 12. At that date, all state-supported mass vaccination sites, local health departments, pharmacy partners – in short, every jurisdiction that receives vaccine from the State of Illinois’ allocation – will be instructed to move to widespread eligibility.

“COVID-19 has not gone away, but the light we can see at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter as more people get vaccinated,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “...With projections from the Biden Administration indicating that weekly vaccine deliveries to Illinois will surpass one million doses in April, it is fully in our power to turn the page on this dark and devastating chapter even as we race a tough clock: the new variants. I invite all Illinoisans to join me in wearing your mask and getting vaccinated when it’s your turn. Step by step, we can get out of this the same we came into it – together.”

Currently, all vaccines are administered by appointment only. While vaccine eligibility is expanding on April 12, making an appointment to receive a shot may take time. Information regarding vaccination locations as well as details on how to book an appointment to receive the vaccine can be found at the state’s COVID website, coronavirus.illinois.gov. Residents who don’t have access to or need assistance navigating online services can call the toll-free IDPH hotline at 833-621-1284 to book an appointment. The hotline is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight with agents available in English and Spanish.

Illinoisans who are not currently eligible to receive the vaccine cannot schedule an appointment for a future date. Residents are encouraged to be patient in the days and weeks following April 12 as vaccination appointments may be limited.

To date, the FDA has authorized the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in 16- and 17-year olds, as well as adults. The Johnson & Johnson and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are currently FDA authorized for use in those 18 and older.