City to stick with vaccinating older adults for now

Joins other area health departments in saying there aren't enough shots to open vaccinations to people with comorbidity issues as soon as Gov. Pritzker suggests.

One Evanston Firefighter vaccinates another at the Levy Center earlier this year. (City of Evanston photo)

Despite Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s decision to open COVID-19 vaccination programs to persons with comorbidity issues later this month, Evanston plans to limit vaccinations to older adults for now.

That’s the word today from the city’s Health Director Ike Ogbo.

On Wednesday Pritkzer said the “steadily increasing federal vaccine supply” would make it possible to expand Phase 1B eligibility on Feb. 25 “to people who have comorbidities and underlying conditions” as defined by the Centers for Disease Control as well as to persons with disabilities.

But Ogbo says Evanston will only transition to the new priority group announced by the governor “when we have substantially vaccinated groups in the current 1B category.”

“Our current strategy and focus is to continue vaccinating our older adults,” he added.

Health officials in the City of Chicago and Cook County say they also plan to continue with the age-based focus for now, because of a shortage of the vaccines.

Dr. Allison Arwady, head of Chicago’s health department, said just one in six Chicagoans 65 and older have gotten their first vaccination shot.

She said the Chicago has administered just 280,000 vaccine doses so far even though it has 360,000 residents 65 and older and more than 350,000 frontline workers who are already eligible to be vaccinated during phase 1B.

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