Update: Illinois Plans for Vaccine Distribution

The state is readying distribution plans for the long awaited COVID-19 vaccine. Of Illinois’ initial allocation of 109,000 dosages, 20% will go to Chicago with the remainder designated for the rest of the state.  

Here’s what you should know

  • Vaccination will be voluntary and federal funding will be available to implement a large-scale vaccination response. The goal is to vaccinate enough of the population to elicit herd immunity.
  • Two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, separated by ≥21 or ≥28 days, will be needed for immunity; It is expected that both doses of the vaccine must be with the same vaccine type, produced by the same manufacturer, but not the same lot of the vaccine. This will require stringent tracking of vaccine administered and patient reminders.
  • The vaccine will be rolled out in 4 phases. Initial populations prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination are based on federal guidance and pending Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations.  Only Phase One strategies have been finalized and all phases are subject to change based on ACIP guidance. 
  • Phase 1 vaccinations may start as soon December 20. The timetable for Phases 2-4 is uncertain at this time, but with weekly vaccine deliveries expected in Illinois it is anticipated that by summer all 4 phases will be completed. 
  • There is no cost to individuals to receive a vaccine.
  • Wearing masks and hand washing is still necessary until Phase 4 vaccinations have been completed.
  • IDPH encourages everyone to get a flu shot.

Here’s what to expect next:

PHASE 1 Roll-Out

Vaccine administration in Phase 1 is broken out into three (3) sub-phases:

Sub-Phase 1a:

Focused on reaching critical populations in the State of Illinois:

  • Health Care Personnel: Includes Such as nurses, physicians, respiratory technicians, dentists, and hygienists. Other workers in health care settings: Such as Nursing assistants, environmental services staff, assisted living facility staff, long-term care facility staff, group home staff, and home caregivers. This also includes Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
  • Residents in Long Term Care Facilities, including Veterans’ homes. 

Sub-Phase 1b

Details are still being worked out but the next group to obtain the vaccine include:

  • Essential or critical workforce, including teachers, those in the transportation industry and grocery store workers, with no sub prioritization; 
  • Essential frontline workers including first responders.

Sub-Phase 1c

  • Regardless of age, those who have two or more of the high-risk conditions (obesity, heart disease, kidney disease, etc.) 
  • People over 65 years of age.

In Phase One, the first vaccines will be directed to the 50 counties with the highest death rates per capita via these 10 Regional Hospital Coordinating Centers: 

  • Rockford Memorial Hospital, Rockford
  • OSF St Francis Medical Center, Peoria
  • St. John’s Hospital, Springfield 
  • Memorial Hospital, Belleville 
  • SIH Memorial Hospital of Carbondale 
  • Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana 
  • Advocate Christ Hospital and Medical Center, Oak Lawn 
  • Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood  
  • Advocate Sherman Hospital, Elgin  
  • Northshore-Highland Park Hospital, Highland Park

Plans are still being worked out on how best to vaccinate residents of long term care facilities. 


Phase 2 will be rolled out once enough vaccine dosages are available and the Phase 1 critical population is vaccinated. Phase 2 populations have not yet been finalized but may include workers in industries and occupations important to the functioning of society.


Phase 3 will be rolled out after the Phase 2 population has been vaccinated. Phase 3 populations have not yet been finalized but could include young children if a pediatric vaccine is approved and widely available.


Phase 4 will be rolled out after the Phase 3 population has been vaccinated. Phase 4 will include anyone who wants to be vaccinated.