Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced on Wednesday that individuals age 65 to 74 years old have been moved to the earlier vaccination Phase 1b from Phase 1c. About 9,000, or 12% of all Evanston residents are 65 years and older, according to the U.S. Census.
The Suburban Cook County Department of Public Health estimated vaccination of Phase 1b groups will start in February and vaccinations of the Phase 1c group could start in April. Evanston’s public health department, which operates independently of Cook County, has not yet released a vaccination timetable. There are about 50 public health departments in Illinois.
In addition to individuals 65 years and older, the Phase 1b group includes frontline essential workers. Frontline essential workers include fire fighters, police officers, corrections offices, food and agricultural workers, USPS workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, teachers, educational support staff, and daycare workers.
Vaccination of Evanston Fire Department first responders began on Dec. 31.
Evanston Police Department Commander Brian Henry said roughly 200 police officers, detectives, supervisors and other department employees will receive the vaccine within the next two weeks.
The Phase 1c group includes other essential workers (logistics and transportation workers, food service employees, finance personnel, etc.) and individuals 16-64 years of age with underlying medical conditions. Phase 2 includes all other individuals over the age of 16.
At this time, children under the age of 16 may be among the last groups to be vaccinated. No vaccines have yet to be approved for children under the age of 16. However, Greg Huhn, infectious disease specialist and one of the leaders of Suburban Cook County vaccination program, said small-scale adolescent trials are underway and the FDA could approve use of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in adolescents as early as mid-year.