All Illinoisans age 5 and up are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccine is a critical tool to safely reach the other side of this pandemic. Through efficient and effective distribution of the vaccine, we can suppress the spread of the virus, save as many lives as possible, and rebuild our economy. As we move through phases of vaccine distribution, the administration will ensure it reaches Illinoisans as quickly as possible using an equity-centric approach as we have done throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As we move forward, it is critical that Illinoisans continue to follow public health recommendations to suppress the spread of the virus until vaccines are ready for widespread distribution.
With the demand for COVID-19 vaccines exceeding supply during the first months availability, the state of Illinois has prioritized our more vulnerable and exposed residents. The following eligibility dates have been implemented to date:
- December 15, 2020: Healthcare workers and long-term care facility staff and residents
- January 25, 2021: Frontline essential workers (including first responders, K-12 teachers and other public-facing industries) and residents age 65 and up
- February 25, 2021: Residents with high-risk conditions or disabilities, age 16 and up
- March 22, 2021: Higher education staff, government workers, and media
- March 29, 2021: Restaurant staff, construction trade workers, and religious leaders
- April 12, 2021: Any resident age 16 and up
Illinois’ Equity-Centric Vaccination Approach
As a result of longstanding disparities in healthcare system access and delivery, Black and Brown Americans have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including suffering a disproportionate number of deaths. In Illinois, Black and Brown residents are more likely to die at a younger age from COVID-19. While the average white Illinoisan who has lost their life to COVID-19 died at age 81, that figure drops to age 72 for Black Illinoisans and 68 for Hispanic Illinoisans.
As Illinois continues to scale its vaccination program, Governor Pritzker, Dr. Ezike, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the entire administration are committed to putting equity at the forefront, as it has been throughout the COVID-19 response efforts. Building on ACIP’s recommendations, the state of Illinois is lowering the age eligibility by 10 years to ensure equitable access to the vaccine's protections, prioritizing residents age 65 and over in Phase 1B. In doing so, Illinois seeks to save lives in a truly equitable manner, recognizing that multi-generational institutional racism has reduced access to care, caused higher rates of environmental and social risk, and increased co-morbidities for people of color. As public health experts continue to review the federal government’s recommendations for Phase 1C in the context of Illinois’ data, Governor Pritzker and Dr. Ezike will ensure the state’s exit plan for this pandemic centers on the very structural inequalities that allowed COVID-19 to rage through our most vulnerable communities in the first place.
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COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting Illinois residents of color. For COVID-19 positive cases in Illinois residents between the ages of 65 to 74, 74% are white, 5% are Asian while 8% identify as Hispanic and 13% identify as Black. For COVID-19 deaths in the same age range, 50% of deceased were White, 4% were Asian, 20% Hispanic, and 25% Black.
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For COVID-19 positive cases in Illinois residents between the ages of 75 and 84, 77% are white, 4% are Asian, 7% are Hispanic and 12% are Black. For COVID-related deaths in the same age range, 65% were White, 4% Asian, 13% Hispanic, and 17% Black.
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Finally, for COVID-19 positive cases in Illinois residents over the age of 85, 82% are White, 5% Asian, 4% Hispanic and 9% Black. For COVID-related deaths in the same age bucket, 78% were White, 3% were Asian, 7% Hispanic, and 11% Black.
Guidance Affirming Non-Discrimination in Administration of the COVID-19 Vaccine
The Pritzker Administration has released guidance to affirm and supplement the State of Illinois’ April 10, 2020 Guidance Relating to Non-Discrimination in Medical Treatment for COVID-19. Federal and State civil rights laws, including the Illinois Human Rights Act, prohibit discrimination in the delivery of healthcare and support of the rendering of ethical, non-discriminatory decisions. These principles have equal and ever-important application in the context of the COVID-19 vaccine.