Illinoisans will have access to COVID-19 vaccines based on federal guidelines, according to an Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) plan that has a four-phase approach to distribution.

The first shipment of the vaccines arrived Dec. 14 at regional distribution centers in Illinois.

State health officials caution that the plan is subject to change, however, as conditions change relating to the status of COVID-19 cases within Illinois, or if the federal government issues additional guidelines.

The initial supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses available is limited, so first efforts will be focused on making it available to critical populations, and ensuring that storage, distribution and reporting systems are sufficient and operational.

In Phase 1, those groups expected to receive first vaccines are healthcare personnel and residents of long-term-care facilities.

Pending further recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a committee within the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, other initial groups could include essential frontline workers, adults with high-risk medical conditions, and those older than 65.

In Phase 2, as more vaccine doses become available, the focus will be on ensuring access to vaccine for members of Phase 1 critical populations not yet vaccinated, then extending efforts to reach Phase 2 critical populations. Pending further recommendations by ACIP, possible Phase 2 groups could include workers in industries and occupations important to the functioning of society, and people with moderate comorbid conditions.

In Phase 3, as vaccines are even more widely available, and pending further ACIP recommendations, possible groups could include children, if a pediatric vaccine is approved/available; and young adults (ages 18-30).

In Phase 4, with the supply of vaccine doses available for the entire state, and pending further ACIP recommendations, the focus will be on everyone who is qualified and who wants a COVID-19 vaccine.

Check for more information about the IDPH’s COVID-19 Vaccination Preparedness Plan, as well as answers to frequently asked questions about the plan.