Pritzker applauds Biden’s May 1 pledge — but hopes to open vaccine eligibility here ‘a little bit earlier’

In total, around 10% of the state’s residents have now been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, and over 100,000 doses are administered daily.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker listens during a news conference about the opening of the new COVID-19 mass vaccination site on the parking lot of the United Center in the Near West Side neighborhood last week.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker listens during a news conference about the opening of the new COVID-19 mass vaccination site on the parking lot of the United Center in the Near West Side neighborhood.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

One day after President Joe Biden pledged to open up COVID-19 vaccinations to all adults by May 1, Gov. J.B. Pritzker went one small step better on Friday, saying he is confident Illinois can open up eligibility a bit earlier.

“I feel very confident moving forward that supplies are increasing, that the president is doing everything that he can to get us there,” Pritzker said during a news conference at Loretto Hospital. “And I’m confident that not just by May 1, but maybe even a little bit earlier, we could open up to everyone in the state, everyone that’s eligible.”

As of that prediction from Pritzker, more than half of those 65 and older across Illinois have received a dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

A total of 605,808 seniors have been fully vaccinated, and 1,695,980 doses have been administered to the 65-and-over demographic, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Around 2 million doses have been administered to those ages 16-64.

Illinoisans have received a total of 3,791,273 vaccine doses since the first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was rolled out in December, and 1,369,534 individuals have been fully vaccinated, amounting to more than 10% of the state’s population.

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered in January at Norwegian American Hospital. Officials are urging more people to get vaccinated and boosted as Omicron arrives.

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered in January at at Loretto Hospital.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

On Thursday, 110,570 doses were administered in Illinois, putting the total slightly above the seven-day rolling average of 95,121 vaccine doses administered daily.

In his nationwide address Thursday night, Biden pledged he would make all U.S. adults eligible for vaccines by May 1, in the hopes that small groups could gather to celebrate the Fourth of July.

“Let me be clear, that doesn’t mean everyone’s going to have that shot immediately, but it means you’ll be able to get in line beginning May 1,” the president said.

Pritzker applauded the president’s announcement on Friday.

“I am very, very pleased at what President Biden announced last night,” the governor said. “I am confident as we’ve been promised by the federal government that we would reach 100,000 doses per day, by the middle of March—we’ve arrived.”

Pritzker said the federal government has already delivered on its promises to get the state to 100,000 doses per day, and that supplies, including vaccines from Johnson & Johnson, are continuously increasing.

Around 69% of doses administered have gone to white individuals, while Black and Latino populations have received approximately 8% and 9% respectively.

As of Thursday, 1,128 individuals with COVID-19 occupied hospital beds in Illinois, with 108 patients on ventilators. Another 1,763 new cases were confirmed out of 93,913 tests, for a positivity rate of around 2.3%, and the state also witnessed an additional 39 deaths.

Over the past year, Illinois has experienced a total of 1,206,172 cases, and 20,901 deaths due to COVID-19.

To schedule a United Center appointment, visit zocdoc.com/vaccine, or call (312) 746-4835.

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