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Frontline workers, people 65 or older will start getting coronavirus vaccine doses Jan. 25, Pritzker says

Teachers, first responders, postal and public transit employees among groups totaling about 3.2 million people next to receive shots.

A COVID-19 vaccine dose is administered Thursday at Richard J. Daley College.
A COVID-19 vaccine dose is administered Thursday at Richard J. Daley College.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

The next wave of Illinoisans in line for the coronavirus vaccine are expected to start getting shots Jan. 25, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Friday.

About 3.2 million residents will be eligible for vaccine doses in “Phase 1B” of Illinois’ vaccine distribution plan, which is reserved for people 65 and older and frontline essential workers. That includes teachers, first responders, postal and public transit employees, corrections workers, incarcerated people and manufacturing, distribution and agriculture workers, including grocery store workers.

Phase 1A is still underway, with shots prioritized for health care workers and nursing home residents, groups that number about 810,000 overall

So far, 447,348 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been administered statewide in the first month since vaccine shipments started arriving in Illinois.

Of those, 101,670 people have been fully vaccinated with the required two doses. That’s less than 1% of the state’s 12.7 million population.

The Illinois Department of Public Health aims to vaccinate at least 80% of the state to achieve herd immunity.

The state is partnering with large pharmacies to launch hundreds of vaccination sites across the state, while the Illinois National Guard will be deployed to set up two mass vaccination sites in Cook County. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced plans earlier this week for six large sites in the city.

Smaller pharmacies, urgent care clinics, doctors’ offices and workplaces will be the main vaccination point for most of the state’s residents in later phases — a process that is expected to take months.

“Patience will be required in these first weeks of Phase 1B because vaccine supplies are just extremely limited,” Pritzker said.

Vaccinations will be made by appointment only. More details are expected from local health departments in the coming weeks.