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Illinois to move into 1b phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution Monday

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(WEEK) -- The State of Illinois will move into the next phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution Monday.

Illinois Department of Public Health spokesperson Melaney Arnold said while the entire state will move into the next phase, some communities have already substantially vaccinated their 1a populations and are using the remaining doses to begin vaccinating their 1b populations.

"Every community is different," she said. " Some may have a large health care personnel population while others do not. Some may have a larger, older population, while other communities may have a much younger population.  The timing of moving through vaccination phases will vary across the state."

Erin Fogarty with the Livingston County Health Department said they've already vaccinated enough people in the 1a group and will begin vaccinating people 65 and older on Thursday.

"We will be administering vaccines here at the Livingston County Health Department on a strictly appointment basis only, and again people can register online via our website for that," said Fogarty.

Fogarty added that once they get another more shipments of the vaccine from the state, they will open up vaccinations to those frontline workers who are included in phase 1b.

In McLean county, vaccine progress is a little slower.

"Some of our largest employers are hospitals and healthcare systems so it's taking us a while, and McLean county, we didn't receive any vaccine that first allotment so we're a little bit behind," said Public Health Administrator Jessica McKnight.

McKnight says McLean has gotten fewer doses than other counties, so they are still working to vaccinate people in phase 1a. They hope to move into phase 1b within the next few weeks, but a threshold is not set yet.

According to the IDPH website, phase 1b includes residents age 65 and over and frontline essential workers, namely first responders, education, food and agriculture, manufacturing, corrections workers and inmates, USPS workers, public transit workers, grocery store workers and staff at shelters and day cares.

Illinois has 1.3 million people who qualify as "frontline essential workers" and 1.9 million adults age 65 and over, bringing the total eligible to 3.2 million Illinoisans.

Public health officials in Peoria and Fulton counties did not respond to requests for an interview.

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