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Illinois teachers could get vaccines within weeks, Pritzker says

They’re among the “frontline essential workers” included in Phase 1B of the state’s historic vaccination effort, along with education support staff and childcare workers.

Physical therapist Manisha Patel receives her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine last month at Mount Sinai Hospital on the Southwest Side. Teachers will be among those next in line to get the vaccine. 
Physical therapist Manisha Patel receives her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine last month at Mount Sinai Hospital on the Southwest Side. Teachers will be among those next in line to get the vaccine. 
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Teachers will have access to coronavirus vaccine doses in the next phase of Illinois distribution, Gov. J.B. Pritzker confirmed Wednesday.

They’re among the “frontline essential workers” included in Phase 1B of the state’s historic vaccination effort, along with education support staff and childcare workers.

That means teachers across the state could begin receiving shots within “a few weeks,” Pritzker said.

“As the vaccines arrive they’ll be able to visit one of the sites that we’re setting up or any other provider that’s registered in order to get vaccinated,” Pritzker said.

Chicago is handling its own vaccine distribution and could use mass vaccination sites “that might be more convenient specifically for teachers,” the Democratic governor said.

About 207,000 doses have been administered statewide so far in Phase 1A, as the state works aims to vaccinate its roughly 700,000 health care workers and 110,000 nursing home residents.

Teachers are among about 3.2 million more people who are next in line for shots. The “frontline” category also includes first responders, postal and public transit employees, corrections workers, incarcerated people and manufacturing, distribution and agriculture workers, including grocery store workers.

Several months remain before shots will be available for a majority of the state’s roughly 12.7 million residents.