Chicago expands COVID vaccine eligibility to 1C as cases rise

Hundreds of thousands of additional Chicagoans are now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine

Video Transcript

CRAIG WALL: Yeah, Tanja and Terrell, already hundreds of people have come through. You can see people are still here, going to be getting their vaccines. It started at about 8:00 this morning. They've been vaccinating about 50 people every two minutes. The pharmacist rolling around little stools, vaccinating people who have been sitting in chairs behind me. It all comes as Chicago prepares to enter Phase 1C of the vaccination rollout.

They were lining up before 8:00 AM. Union workers who signed up last week to get their shot, here to get the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccination.

VANESSA ARROYO: Well, I was in my car, I'm like, "Oh, my God." Like, I seen all these people and I'm like, "I'm gonna take, like, four hours." But I asked the lady and she said that the line just looks really bad but it'll take, like, 30 minutes.

CRAIG WALL: At this clinic there were 1,200 available appointments for union members. The mayor to join the Chicago Federation of Labor to talk about the expansion of eligibility that allows anyone over 16 with underlying conditions, along with all essential workers who did not previously qualify, to now sign up to get vaccinated as Chicago moves into Phase 1C.

BRANDON PENDLETON: Well, the process, to be honest, is really smooth. Had an 8:45 appointment, line moved pretty well. They got us right in, gave us the shot. And yeah, I'm happy to have it and happy that this whole thing is seemingly coming to an end.

CRAIG WALL: This week, the state is expected to receive 1 million doses of the three available vaccines. It comes at a time when Chicago is seeing a spike in cases among young people in and around Lincoln Park which has raised concerns among health officials.

In other parts of the state where demand is low, health departments are now allowed to expand eligibility to anyone over 16.

ROBERT CITRONBERG: I think we're getting to the point, even in Chicago, where in the next couple of weeks, we're going to see the demand for vaccine start to come down and the supply is going to continue to increase. So my advice to people is just be patient. I think we're definitely on schedule here and around the country for everyone who wants a vaccine to be eligible by about May 1.

CRAIG WALL: The mayor is expected to be here at about 12:15 to officially kick-off Phase 1C for Chicago. This union-coordinated effort will be vaccinating 1,200 people per week.