Counties To Open Vaccine Eligibility To Anyone Age 16 And Older Amid Drop In Demand In Some Areas

CBS 2's Chris Tye reports the state previously planned to make all Illinoisans 16 and older eligible for the vaccine starting April 12.

Video Transcript

BRAD EDWARDS: Monday, Chicago will open COVID-19 vaccine appointments to those of you in Phase 1C. That includes all essential workers, anyone over 16 with certain qualifying underlying conditions. In the last week, COVID cases rose 24% in Chicago.

Similar increases are being seen across the state. Because of that, eligibility is being eased in some areas. CBS News Chris Tye digging into the numbers, and is live in our streetside studio with what you need to know. Chris.

CHRIS TYE: Brad, anyone 16 and older can get vaccinated in Illinois come April the 12th. But today, the state is telling counties if you want to switch to that mode right now, you can. A drop in demand for vaccinations in some Northern Illinois counties is what triggered this.

ARTURO PEREZ: The next day or that same day you're going to feel a little sore. But other than that, it's like a regular shot.

CHRIS TYE: Arturo Perez got his shot.

MELVIN SANTIAGO: I think people will try and get it as fast as they can.

CHRIS TYE: Melvin Santiago's is just days away. Two teenagers, eligible because the city's prioritize their zip codes through the Protect Chicago Plus program. But the state is now allowing counties to make that same judgment call, dropping the age requirement immediately if the health departments choose.

JB PRITZKER: This is a response to a significant move upward in new cases and new hospitalizations.

CHRIS TYE: 3,000 new cases today, the most in seven weeks. 1,300 hospitalizations, the most in a month. And compared to last week, Illinois saw 9,000 fewer vaccinations.

JB PRITZKER: We've allowed them to open up to everybody in their community that's 16 years old and over, which is what we'll do across the state on April 12.

CHRIS TYE: So far, no Chicago area counties are dropping the age limit, but they can. And if yours does, Arturo says teenagers should make getting a shot a primary goal.

ARTURO PEREZ: I just hope that everything starts going back to normal. Little by little, not just force everything right away. Because if we force it, it's going to end up going back to base one.

CHRIS TYE: There is still white hot demand for this vaccine in Chicago and the surrounding counties. We checked with the big six counties around our area, none of them are making the switch to 16 and over immediately because there is such high demand still.

Brad, the closest county to Cook County-- just for perspective-- that is making that switch, Boone County, which is just east of Rockford.

BRAD EDWARDS: That's a ways away. The counties, Chris, seeing these sharp jumps in cases and drops in vaccinations. That's a bad-bad there, and those don't negate each other. What do you know about what's going on on the ground with these kind of double negative things happening?

CHRIS TYE: Yeah, well the double negative here is that they have a gross number of supplies really. They have a huge number that they can be working through up in places like Boone County. But there's just no demand, which is why they're sort of relaxing the rules and opening up that 16 plus group.

They are sort of dispatching these rapid response teams to those northern counties in Illinois to try to get this thing under control on top of what already is in place with the county health departments there.

BRAD EDWARDS: OK, Chris Tye, we appreciate your work this week. Thank you.