State Expands Vaccine Eligibility As Of Feb. 25

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Gov. JB Pritzker announced Wednesday that the state plans to expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to individuals of all ages who have comorbidities and underlying conditions by Feb. 25.

Speaking at a news conference in Quincy Wednesday, Pritzker said the expansion of eligibility under Phase 1B of the state’s vaccine distribution plan comes as a result of increased availability of doses at the federal level.

Pritzker said the expansion of eligibility would include individuals with comorbidities as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such as diabetes, cancer, lung disease or heart disease.

“My administration will be working with all local public health departments to fit these higher risk individuals into their community vaccination plans,” Pritzker said Wednesday. “As quickly as we receive enough vaccine supply, we need to waste no time protecting them.” 

According to a Wednesday news release from the governor’s office, areas that have “substantially completed” their existing Phase 1B population can move ahead with the vaccine expansion earlier than Feb. 25 at the determination of local public health officials and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

Pritzker said the state has secured a five percent increase in vaccines received per week from the federal government, and he expressed optimism that the state would continue to receive more vaccine doses as a result of increased production. 

“I wish I could make enough vaccine magically appear so that we could get all of our Illinoisans vaccinated right now,” Pritzker said. “That will happen over the next coming months, but today we all have to exercise patience as more vaccine is being produced.” 

The state’s seven-day rolling positivity rate continued to hold steady at 3.3 percent Wednesday. 

Locally, the Montgomery County Health Department reported 40 new positive test results in the first four days of this week–Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and the state reported the death of a male in his 40s in Montgomery County, the 67th COVID death here since the pandemic began.

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