Starting March 29, Chicago will move into phase 1C of its vaccination distribution plan, which makes all essential workers and all residents ages 16 through 64 with underlying conditions eligible to book vaccination appointments. 

“That includes warehouse and delivery workers, restaurant and hotel workers, and people who cut hair and do nails,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Alison Arwady said. Other jobs included in 1C’s essential worker category are listed here. Additionally, vaccination appointments accessible via Zocdoc will be limited to Chicago residents.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot joined Arwady to detail their phase 1C plan at a press conference on March 17.

Arwady says Biden’s May 1 deadline for all adults to be vaccinated caught her by surprise. By her current estimates most people made newly eligible under 1C guidelines likely won’t be able to get the vaccine in arm until April or May due to limited vaccine supply.

Graphic by the city of Chicago

Throughout 1C, those who were eligible for vaccination in 1A, 1B and 1B+ will still be able to book appointments, Arwady said. However, it will be more difficult for them to book appointments since more people will be eligible.

“We will continue this focus on seniors, especially between now and when we move into 1C. If you know any Chicago resident who is 65 or older, who has not been vaccinated, you can also please help them call 312-746-4835,” Arwady said. “It is going to be harder, honestly, for people over 65 to get a vaccine after March 29. We’ll do everything we can to prioritize them. When they call the call center we will work very hard to get them in.”

Arwady also provided some clarity on the city’s vaccine supply.

“Twelve weeks and one day have passed since the first vaccine at Loretto [Hospital]. More than 110 million COVID vaccinations have been given across the U.S. Here in Chicago, we’ll cross the one million mark in about a week,” she said. “We’re talking about an expansion at the end of March that will make most Chicagoans eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations.” 

When phase 1C begins on March 29, Arwady said, the majority of Chicago residents will be eligible for the vaccine. So far, approximately one in five Chicago residents have at least gotten a first dose of vaccine. That number moves to one in four for adults, and one in two for people over the age of 65.


For the first six weeks of vaccination (phase 1A), Chicago was getting about 5,000 doses of vaccines a day for the entire city, Arwady said. A steady increase in vaccine supply now has the city receiving between 9,000 and 10,000 first doses per day.

“We have met every benchmark for vaccination, and we have continued to successfully use every dose of vaccine with none going to waste, anywhere in the city,” Arwady added, pushing back against rumors that vaccines were going to waste at the United Center facility. 

“Besides what the city is receiving directly, there are also direct federal allocations of the vaccine coming to pharmacies, and sites like the United Center, which brings the vaccine supply to more than twice what the daily rate was in Phase 1A,” she said.

Getting the vaccine to those places that have been hardest hit by the pandemic first has been the main factor in driving down case COVID-19 numbers in Chicago. The overall positivity rate is up .2% from last week’s 2.9 percent, while the rate for Black Chicagoans specifically is down to 2.6%. There are more than 600 providers registered and trained to vaccinate patients. Most haven’t been able to start vaccinating because they haven’t had the supply, Arwady said.

“We’ve managed to get vaccines to the settings that are most driving our outbreak,” she said. “Over the last month, not only are numbers lower, but we have essentially erased racial and ethnic inequities in case rates and deaths that have plagued us since the beginning.”

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Arwady also addressed concerns about a Loretto Hospital vaccination event held at Trump Tower in downtown Chicago, after a photo of the hospital’s COO— and Trump Tower resident— Dr. Anosh Ahmed posing with Eric Trump made the rounds on social media. Block Club Chicago was the first to report on the vaccination event at Trump Tower.

“We have asked for more details as to who was vaccinated. Loretto maintains that their goal was to vaccinate hotel workers,” Arwady says. “Hotel workers aren’t eligible to be vaccinated at this time. They do become eligible under 1C. I will note, I think it was about 70 in the context of the million that have been done.”

Loretto Hospital in Austin is where Chicago’s vaccine distribution began, and has been a major partner in the city’s vaccine rollout and the Protect Chicago Plus initiative through which it runs an additional vaccine site at Catalyst Circle Rock charter school in Austin.  

Despite such deep involvement with the CDPH vaccine rollout plan, Arwady said that Loretto Hospital noted some confusion about vaccine eligibility, and the fact that hotel workers were not eligible.

is a staff writer with The TRiiBE. Email him with news tips.