1.25.21 COVID-19 Disease and Vaccine Update

CLICK HERE to find vaccination locations throughout the state of Illinois.

Dear Chicago Residents and Partners,

Chicago will begin Phase 1b of vaccination on Monday, January 25, but vaccine supply is limited and patience will be key. There are two main categories in Phase 1b: Chicagoans who are 65+ and frontline essential workers, including first responders; grocery store workers and day care workers; early education and K-12 educators; workers in public transit, manufacturing, and agriculture; correctional officers and a limited number of government workers, including elected officials and postal service workers. Health care workers and long-term care facility workers and residents who were prioritized in group 1a remain eligible for vaccine in phase 1b and beyond.

Please remember, even when you become eligible, it may take weeks to get an appointment. We expect it to take at least through February and March for frontline essential workers and those who are 65+ to get their first dose of vaccine because of limited supply and the number of providers who are able to administer the vaccine. We also will continue to vaccinate workers and residents in non-healthcare congregate settings, like homeless shelters, correctional settings, and group residential settings like convents, where we have seen local outbreaks.

Just like getting a flu shot, there are multiple ways to receive a COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Healthcare Providers: Your first contact should be your health care provider, including your primary care provider, health clinic, or hospital where you have gotten medical care in the past. Over 350 health care providers have signed up with CDPH to distribute vaccine. Providers are also reaching out directly to schedule appointments with their existing patients, prioritizing those who are older with more underlying conditions. If you have insurance but do not have a primary care provider, please check with your insurance company for a list of providers accepting new patients. If you do not have insurance, one option is to enroll with one of Chicago’s many Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs).
  • Pharmacies: The City of Chicago has provided vaccines to pharmacies across Chicago. There are currently four pharmacies which have their own registration link – Walgreens, Mariano’s, Walmart, and Jewel Osco.
  • Employers: Employers in prioritized essential worker groups will be able to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to their employees in 1b by enrolling as vaccine providers (https://www.chicagohan.org/covidvax) or through partnerships with 3rd party vaccinators. CDPH is working directly with some employers as vaccine becomes available; for example, first responders are already being vaccinated and others will begin soon. If you will receive your vaccine through your employer, you do not need to take any other action.

Please note that it may take some time to get an appointment given limited supply. We will be announcing additional centralized scheduling options in the coming weeks. For more information, visit chicago.gov/COVIDvax.


Vaccination Sites for Healthcare Workers

On January 14, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced the opening of new mass vaccination sites to increase distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to non-hospital and other community-based healthcare workers. The City has six Points of Dispensing (PODs) at City Colleges of Chicago locations, where ongoing administration of the vaccine is available by appointment for healthcare workers who are vital to the ongoing response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Healthcare workers must make an appointment to receive a vaccine at one of the POD sites. A representative from their facility must complete the Staff Vaccination Inquiry Survey which is provided on the official CDPH vaccine web site – www.chicago.gov/covidvax – under the Healthcare Providers tab. After completing the survey, they will receive a facility code, and once a facility has received their code, they should send the code to their staff. The code is required in order to set up a vaccination appointment online.

As of the week of January 25th, all POD appointments remain completely booked with healthcare workers who first became eligible under phase 1a. As more vaccine become available, a limited number of appointments will be available for those who are eligible under phase 1b. A link will be provided once appointments are available.

Vaccination Strategy for CPS Staff

On January 22, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and CDPH announced details of the plan to vaccinate thousands of eligible staff and educators under phase 1b of the city’s vaccination plan. Approximately 1,500 CPS healthcare workers are eligible already ​as part of phase 1a, and, beginning January 25, additional school-based staff will also be eligible to receive the vaccine as it becomes available.

As part of the vaccination plan, CDPH will distribute vaccine to CPS beginning mid-February, with the amount contingent upon federal vaccine allocations. In order to ensure equity of access, the district will be setting up multiple vaccination sites across the city that will be open only to CPS employees, with hours of operation that are accommodating to the work schedules of employees to minimize learning and work disruptions. CPS will also actively coordinate and communicate vaccine availability to CPS employees through other partner organizations serving broader groups of Phase 1B-eligible Chicagoans. Employees can also independently seek vaccination from their healthcare provider.

CPS has developed a prioritization system based on the level of exposure to others and ability to reliably maintain mitigation measures, as well as the amount of time the specific role has been serving in-person during the closure. Within individual categories, employees who fall into the following groups may be further prioritized if they are age 65 or over, or have a high risk medical condition per CDC. Having an ADA or caretaker accommodation to work from home will not impact prioritization status for employees.

Learn more about CPS’ vaccination strategy at bit.ly/cpsVaccinationStrategy.

Chi COVID Coach

Stay informed on Chicago’s vaccination progress by signing up for Chi COVID Coach. We will use this app to provide you with information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Chicago, as well as how and where you can get vaccinated when it is your turn. Registration is free and your information will be protected.

Sign Up for Vaccine Updates

Reopening Update

Effective immediately, Chicago has moved to the Tier 1 Mitigations Measures set by the State of Illinois. Updated regulations have been posted at www.chicago.gov/reopening. Please see below for an overview of these new mitigations, which are in effect as of 9:00am today.

  • Restaurants and bars can reopen indoors at lesser of 25% or 25 people per space. Food must be available at all times in order to offer indoor service. Table size limited to no more than four people per indoor table and six people per outdoor table.
  • Events are limited to the lesser of 25 guests or 25% of overall room capacity both indoors and outdoors. Indoor events can serve food or drinks, but indoor service guidelines must be followed.
  • Health and fitness centers can operate at 40% indoor capacity, with no more than 50 people within one area. Group classes of 15 or fewer can resume under the 40% capacity restriction.
  • Indoor recreation capacity increased to the lesser of 40% or 50 people.
  • Movie theaters and performance venues can operate indoors at 40% capacity, with no more than 50 people in any one space.
  • Grocery stores and pharmacies can operate at 50% capacity, all other stores at 40% capacity.
  • Museums can operate indoors at 40% capacity. Guided tours are limited to 50 people and groups must be limited to 10 people.
  • Personal services can operate 40% capacity, with no more than 50 people in any one space. Face coverings can be removed only for services that require their removal.
  • Places of worship can operate at 40% capacity, with no more than 50 people in any one space. Special events are capped at no more than 25 people.

As a reminder, now is the time to double down on what works to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to keep our businesses open. BACP will continue to enforce these new regulations, particularly the rules for limited indoor service at bars and restaurants. Please continue to wear face coverings, maintain social distancing, avoid gatherings and follow the regulations closely. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to follow the COVID-19 regulations and help Chicago continue to move forward in the fight against this deadly virus.

Business Webinars

To help businesses navigate these new mitigations, we will be holding two webinars this week. Join us on Monday, January 25, at 2:00pm for “Overview of the Tier 1 Mitigation Measures” and Tuesday, January 26 at 2:00pm for “Overview of the Tier 1 Mitigation Measures for Restaurants and Bars”. Register and learn more at www.chicago.gov/businesseducation.

Register for a Webinar

Testing and International Air Travel

If you plan to travel internationally, get tested before you travel by air into the United States (US), or be prepared to show proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel.

On January 12, 2021, CDC issued an Order requiring all air passengers arriving to the US from a foreign country to get tested no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to provide proof of the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight. This Order will go into effect on January 26, 2021. Learn more at cdc.gov.

Chicago Emergency Travel Order

As of January 15, the City’s Emergency Travel Order includes 49 states and two territories on the Orange “avoid travel” list. Only one state, Hawaii, does not have post-travel requirements.

Chicago residents are strongly advised to avoid all non-essential travel. As a reminder, the Stay-at-Home Advisory was extended to January 22, 2021.

  • 1 yellow state (no requirements): Hawaii
  • 49 orange states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia (must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival or receive a pre-arrival negative test result no longer than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chicago): see map below

The list of states is updated every Tuesday and goes into effect the following Friday at 12:01 a.m. The next update will be on Tuesday, January 26.

COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Resources

All Chicagoans have full permission to copy or adapt messaging and flyers for their communications. They are free to use and no credit is needed. You may also add your logo next to the CDPH logo. We hope these documents help you answer questions from the community, prepare leadership for press briefings, update website content, write press releases, develop social media posts, and meet other communications needs.


Talking Points:



Social Media:


Vaccination Stickers:

Community groups and local businesses looking for additional COVID-19 resources including downloadable flyers and signage can visit the City’s COVID-19 website and click on the Resources tab, or click here.  

For more information, visit chicago.gov/coronavirus.