COVID-19 vaccine opportunities expand to Illinois residents with specific underlying health conditions

Local News

The Illinois Department of Public Health is now opening vaccine opportunities to more residents.

The announcement was made Thursday and applies to Illinoisans with the following specific underlying health conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive kidney disease)
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Immunocompromised state from a solid organ transplant
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Pulmonary disease
  • Sickle sell disease

“As you can imagine, we are pleased to be able to offer vaccine protection to people with these serious health conditions,” said the Quad Cities COVID-19 Coalition in a news release. “However, we are worried that expanding eligibility without greatly expanding supply will lead to more frustration in getting an opportunity to be vaccinated.”

The coalition says adding thousands of people to the pool of those seeking vaccination will make getting a time slot more difficult, and they ask for the community’s patience.

“We are trying to manage your expectations. You will have a chance to receive your vaccination, but you could be weeks away from getting a time slot at our clinics or with our health care and pharmacy partners,” a news release states. “Please understand that public health and our partners are working hard on your behalf and that this process is frustrating for all of us.”

The Quad Cities COVID-19 Coalition advises only those who are eligible to seek a vaccination time slot, which include:

  • Health care providers
  • Frontline essential workers
  • Rock Island County residents 65 and older
  • People with the outlined serious medical conditions

Those eligible are asked to bring verification of a diagnosis to the vaccination clinic.

Verification documents include:

  • An after-visit summary from a recent medical provider’s visit that includes a diagnosis
  • An explanation of benefits from an insurance company
  • An explanation from a medical provider

Medical records may also be available through online portals such as myunitypoint, mygenesis or mychart.

“Soon, as supply increases, more vaccine opportunities will be available in our community. Genesis UnityPoint-Trinity and Community Health Care are reaching out to their patients to offer a vaccine appointment,” said the coalition. “Please take the first opportunity you are given and keep that time slot. Please don’t take several slots ‘just in case.’ Once you have a confirmed time slot, that dose is reserved for you, barring an unforeseen situation such as another weather-related disruption in shipping.”

The Quad Cities COVID-19 Coalition says, because vaccine supply remains limited, the state health department is still directing them to give as many second doses as are necessary.

They’re offering second doses from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays.

They say any remaining slots, if available, will be offered at 10 a.m. on their website and Facebook page.

“As we have seen in previous weeks, we suggest that you click the link on the Facebook page because the social media giant’s servers are less likely to crash with this many users,” said the coalition. “You do not have to sign up for a Facebook account to search for our health department’s page and click on the link. The links for Thursday and Friday opportunities will be different.”

The Quad Cities COVID-19 Coalition is still using Signup Genius for all time slots.

“You do not need to sign up for an account. For first-dosers, just click a slot and put in your name and email address and click ‘submit.’ For second-dosers, you still don’t need to sign up for an account but will be asked two qualifying questions that will require you to say when you received your first dose and what brand of vaccine it was,” said the coalition. “This information is available on the vaccine card you received with your first dose. Then, you will need to put in your name and email to register for a time slot.”

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