QUINCY — Earlier this week, the state of Illinois announced that the eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations would be expanded into the 1C phase beginning Feb. 25.

In the details of that announcement, it was made clear that if areas had progressed far enough in the earlier eligibility groups, they could move to the next phase even sooner.

That’s the case in Adams County, as the health department announced it was expanding to the Phase 1C groups effective Friday, Feb. 12.

“We had substantially completed the remainder of the 1B population,” said Emily Andrews, a health educator with the Adams County Health Department. She said that the county’s progress through the first two phases were at an acceptable level to meet the state requirements to open up further eligibility.

The new phase of eligibility includes residents ages 16-64 with underlying medical conditions that increase the risk for severe symptoms if COVID-19 is contracted. These conditions include heart conditions including hypertension, diabetes, pulmonary disease, kidney disease, obesity, cancer, immunocompromised, sickle cell and pregnancy.

While this eligibility criteria is part of the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Phase 1C list, the health department does not show the eligibility opened yet for that entire phase. According to the IDPH list, this phase would also include certain additional employment groups that don’t fall under the 1A or 1B phases. The public information shared by the Adams County Health Department does not list this eligibility yet, only those that meet the medical condition criteria.

This follows the pattern established with the “staggered” eligibility of Phase 1B when the county opened that up last month. Registration can be done online at adamscountytogether.com/vaccinate or by phone at 217-600-4VAX (4829). For additional information or for residents with questions or concerns, the health department encourages visiting its Facebook page or the website at co.adams.il.us/government/departments/health-department. For general information on COVID-19, the Illinois Department of Public Health has a hotline available at 800-889-3931 or email at dph.sick@illinois.gov.

Currently, Adams County reports just under 9% of residents have received both rounds of vaccination, while more than 32% of the county’s population has gotten at least the first shot.

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