Cook County opening vaccinations to people under 65 with medical conditions

  • State COVID-19 testing facilities are reducing operations to focus on vaccine deliveries.

    State COVID-19 testing facilities are reducing operations to focus on vaccine deliveries. Daily Herald file photo/Jan. 24

Updated 3/18/2021 6:16 AM

Suburban Cook County residents between ages 16 and 65 with certain medical conditions will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination through the county health department with appointment signup starting at noon on Friday.

The newly eligible residents should register at The Cook County Department of Public Health will begin taking appointments via the website at noon Friday for vaccinations beginning on Monday.


The so-called Phase 1B-plus includes people with cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, diabetes, heart conditions, weakened immunity after an organ transplant, obesity, pulmonary disease and sickle cell disease as well as individuals with disabilities, pregnant women and smokers.

The change affects suburban vaccine providers who receive doses from the agency that serves suburban Cook County residents, as well as state-supported Cook County mass vaccination sites in Des Plaines, Tinley Park, River Grove and South Holland.

The state moved into Phase 1B-plus on Feb. 25, but Cook County delayed, saying too many people over 65 still were unable to access shots. Other suburban counties did the same.

"Over the past few weeks, we've seen great progress in vaccinating vulnerable groups in Phase 1B, including our seniors. This is reflected in the numbers, which indicate that more than 68% of individuals 65 and older in suburban Cook County have received at least one dose," said Dr. Rachel Rubin, senior medical officer and co-lead, Cook County Department of Public Health.

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Meanwhile, state health officials announced 102,390 more COVID-19 vaccine inoculations were administered statewide on Tuesday. That brings the number of vaccine doses administered throughout the state to 4,283,487, while 1,605,112 Illinois residents and workers -- about 13% of the population -- have been fully vaccinated, according to Illinois Department of Public Health records.

Illinois vaccine providers are now averaging 102,223 inoculations a day over the past week, records show.

State officials reported an additional 119,600 vaccine doses arrived in Illinois Tuesday. Illinois has now received 5,516,725 doses of the three brands of vaccines, 77.6% of which have been put into arms, IDPH figures show.

IDPH officials also reported 17 more COVID-19 deaths, as well as 1,655 new cases of the disease.

That brings the state's death toll from the virus to 20,988, with 1,213,765 Illinois residents who have been infected since the outset of the pandemic.

Hospitals statewide are treating 1,143 patients for COVID-19 infections. Of those hospitalized, 259 are in intensive care.

The statewide seven-day case positivity rate is at 2.2%. The percentage indicates how many of the tests taken resulted in a new case of the disease being diagnosed. A seven-day average is used to smooth any anomalies in the daily reporting of new cases and test results.


IDPH officials also unveiled a new data website that allows Illinois residents to track how much of the state's vaccine supply is earmarked for their county each week.

The site shows how the state is allocating this week's supply of 458,100 new doses.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to announce plans later this week that would allow for greater reopening of businesses and activities throughout the state as vaccines become more plentiful.

"How do we make sure while we're opening up we don't see a surge of cases as we are vaccinating people?" Pritzker asked rhetorically. "What we want is to get vaccines into people's arms right away. My focus is on making this vaccine as accessible as possible for all of our residents as soon as shipments enter Illinois."

Local health departments have earmarked 200,030 shots intended for first doses. Another 157,230 are being issued to counties for second doses. The first-dose allocations to the local health departments are based on the percent of the state's population served by those agencies, according to the IDPH website.

The Cook County Public Health Department, which serves the suburban portion of the county, is set to receive 45,200 first doses and 18,840 second doses, according to the site.

• DuPage County is expected to receive 18,400 first doses and 700 second doses.

• Kane County is earmarked 10,600 first doses and 2,100 second doses.

• Lake County should be getting 13,900 first doses and 1,000 second doses.

• McHenry County's allocation is set at 6,100 first doses and 500 second doses.

• Will County is in line for 13,800 first doses and 5,540 second doses.

According to the website, the state will allocate the remainder of the week's new doses like this: 5,850 to long-term care facilities; 5,700 to federally qualified health centers, safety net hospitals and critical access hospitals; 63,400 to National Guard sites; 16,160 to retail pharmacies; 6,140 to minority health and mobile teams; 100 to the Illinois Department of Corrections; and 3,500 to dialysis centers.

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