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Eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine expands in Illinois
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Eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine expands in Illinois

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The state of Illinois expanded its COVID-19 vaccination eligibility Thursday to include people younger than 65 with conditions that would put them at higher risk of COVID-19 and those with disabilities. The move comes one day after the state set a new record for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Joining the group of people within Phase 1B of Illinois' vaccination plan are people with conditions such as obesity, diabetes, pulmonary disease, smoking, heart conditions, chronic kidney disease, cancer, solid organ transplants, sickle cell disease and those who are pregnant. People with disabilities under the age of 65 are also included and are specified by the Illinois Department of Public Health as "physical disability, developmental disability, visual disability, hearing disability, or mental disability."

In a statement, Gov. JB Pritzker said he was excited to expand the categories, coming as supply is likely to rise due to the eventual approval of Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine.

"As states and cities across the country expand eligibility for the vaccine, it's vital that the most medically vulnerable like those with heart disease, lung disease and cancer have access to the vaccine, regardless of their age," Pritzker said. "With the federal supply projected to hit 100,000 doses delivered daily in mid-March, we must be prepared to vaccinate this population as quickly as possible."

The state had 130,021 vaccinations Wednesday, setting a record for overall vaccinations. The state also set records for first and second does of the vaccine. The new record helped push the seven-day average to 66,274 doses.

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