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How to Get the Vaccine in Illinois; COVID-19 Update

As an Illinois resident myself, I look forward to receiving the vaccine. Sometimes, it can be hard to keep up with the latest news on who is eligible and when YOU will become eligible. I decided to put together a helpful guide on vaccinations and upcoming eligibility expansions. 


On March 29, Illinois expanded COVID-19 vaccine access to restaurant staff, construction trade workers, and religious leaders, another group of essential workers. Next month, all adults will become eligible for a vaccine in the state. 


As of now, Illinois is in Phase 1C. According to GoodRx, those eligible for the vaccine include: 


  • Healthcare workers

  • Long-term care residents and staff

  • Anyone age 65 or older

  • Frontline essential workers

  • Teachers and education staff

  • Adults with high-risk medical conditions

  • Persons with a disability

  • Workers in essential and critical industries

  • Persons living or working in congregate settings

  • Essential workers not listed in previous phases


Phase two will begin on April, 12. Vaccine eligibility will expand to adults 16 and older. The Illinois Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccination plan says the focus of phase two is to “ensure access to vaccine for members of phase one critical populations not yet vaccinated and extend efforts to reach phase two critical populations.”


Chicago is entering phase 1C, which expands eligibility to residents with underlying health conditions and an additional group of essential workers.  Restaurant employees, hotel workers, hairdressers, clergy members, construction workers, delivery drivers, and warehouse workers, and others will be eligible in the city. 


In Kane, Lake, and Will counties, four new mass vaccination centers have opened eligible to ALL Illinois residents, regardless of where they live. Shabbona Middle School in Grundy County will also expand its eligibility to include any eligible state resident.

As of March 29, the state reported that 69 percent of seniors 65 and older had been vaccinated. Illinois must meet the 70% threshold to enter its final phase before a full reopening. But, Illinois’ health department said in a recent press release, hospitalization metrics “continue to trend upward,” so “the state has not yet met the conditions to move to the Bridge Phase.”


Areas of concern include Chicago, Cook County, and Region 1 in Rockford. 


Per NBC 5 Chicago, to enter the “Bridge Phase” the state must meet the following: 


  • 70% of residents 65 years and older must have received the first vaccine dose

  • Hospitals must maintain 20% or greater ICU bed availability

  • Hospitalizations for COVID-19, admissions for COVID-like illness, and deaths must hold steady or decline over a 28-day monitoring period.

You can’t pre-register to receive the vaccine. If you are eligible to receive it, you can make an appointment through CVS, Kroger, or Walgreens. Check this website out to find out where you can receive the vaccine depending on your location. You must contact the location directly to make an appointment.

The most recent updates on the state’s vaccine administrative data can be found here and more information on Illinois’ COVID-19 vaccination plan can be found here







Wajeeha Kamal is a freshman at Michigan State University in the James Madison and Honors College. She is majoring in political theory and constitutional democracy. Alongside, she plans to pursue a dual-degree in journalism. She is minoring in history. Wajeeha would like to go to law school for constitutional law and work for the ACLU or as a federal prosecutor. In her free-time, she enjoys researching true-crime, reading, and watching Netflix!
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