What to Expect When Getting Vaccinated Guidance

Guiding Principles

In order to promote a fair process for vaccine administration while vaccine supply is limited, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is asking vaccine providers, such as pharmacies and other healthcare providers, to help ensure that individuals receiving the vaccine are eligible. Currently individuals who fall into Priority Groups 1a or 1b (descriptions below) may be eligible to receive the vaccine because of the work they perform or their age.

At the time you make your vaccine appointment, providers may ask you to identify whether you fall in one of the priority groups that are currently eligible for the vaccine. Before you receive the vaccine, the provider may also ask you to provide documentation of your age or that you are a frontline worker, or ask you to verify that you otherwise fall within one of the eligible categories.

Below are examples of documentation that you should consider bringing to your vaccine appointment to help verify your eligibility based on your age, the work you perform or your health condition or disability:

  • Personal Identification, such as a State ID or driver’s license, US or foreign passport, Consular ID, or Temporary Visitor Driver License, CityKey card; or
  • Employee Identification, such as work identification card or badge, paycheck stub, or letter from employer.
  • Documentation of a qualifying health condition or disability, such as any document with the diagnosis of health condition or disability, prescription medication for the health condition, Illinois Person with a Disability ID card, disability income award letter, or letter citing the health condition or specific disability from a relevant healthcare or social service provider.

All eligible individuals in Illinois can receive the vaccine regardless of insurance coverage or immigration status, including individuals who are undocumented.

  • Vaccine providers may not charge individuals without insurance coverage a fee or co-pay.
  • Vaccine providers may not ask individuals to provide documentation regarding their immigration status.
  • Information individuals share with a vaccine provider may not be shared with immigration authorities.

Priority Groups 1a and 1b

Vaccine providers may ask you or your representative (such as a friend or family member) to review the categories below to confirm that you are in one of the priority populations to be vaccinated at this time.

Who is in Priority Group 1a?

Healthcare workers, as well as residents and personnel in long-term congregate care facilities where high rates of transmission and outbreaks can occur.

Health care personnel

  • Hospital settings
  • Non-hospital health care
    • Medical outpatient clinics
    • Public health clinics
    • Local Health Department Points of Distribution (PODs)
    • Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHCs)
    • Home health care workers
    • Home health aides

Long-term care facility staff and all residents

  • Skilled Nursing Facilities
  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Intermediate Care Facilities for Persons with Developmental Disabilities
  • Intermediate Care Facilities for Persons with Severe Mental Illness
  • State-run Veterans’ Homes
  • State-operated Centers for Persons with Developmental Disabilities
  • State-operated Mental Health Centers
  • Residential Treatment Centers for Substance Abuse

Other identified congregate care staff and all residents

  • Continuing Care Residential Facilities
  • Residential Care Adult Homes
  • Supportive Housing for Seniors
  • Supportive Residential Facilities for Persons with Developmental Disabilities
  • Supportive Residential Facilities for Persons with Severe Mental Illness
  • Community Integrated Living Arrangements
  • Supervised Residential Facilities for Persons with Developmental Disabilities
  • Supervised Residential Facilities for Persons with Severe Mental Illness

Who is in Priority Group 1b?

Persons that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and frontline workers with higher risk of exposure due to inability to work remotely and proximity to coworkers or the public.

Age 65 or older

Frontline essential worker (Below are examples of frontline workers within the eligible categories for Phase 1b.)

First responders

Fire, law enforcement, 911 worker, security personnel, school officer


K-12 teacher, school administrator, student support staff, student aide, day care worker and center-based childcare provider, home visiting provider, early intervention therapists, Head Start/Early Head Start provider, Preschool for All provider

Food and agriculture

Processing plants, veterinary health, livestock services, animal care


Industrial production of goods for distribution to retail, wholesale, or other manufacturers

Corrections workers and incarcerated individuals

Correctional officer and staff, jail officer and staff, juvenile facility staff, a worker providing in-person support or services, incarcerated individuals

U.S. Postal Service workers

Public transit worker

Flight crew, bus driver, train conductor, taxi driver, para-transit driver, in-person support, ride sharing service driver

Grocery store worker

Bagger, cashier, stocker, pickup, customer service

Shelters and adult day care staff

Homeless shelter, women’s shelter, adult day/drop-in program, sheltered workshop

Who is in Priority 1b Plus Population?

Persons with specific health-complicating conditions or status.

Eligible Conditions

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Pulmonary Diseases
  • Smoking
  • Heart Conditions
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Cancer
  • Solid Organ Transplant
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Pregnancy

Persons with a Disability who do not otherwise have an Eligible Condition

For this purpose, persons with a disability is defined as a “person who is, and who is expected to indefinitely continue to be, subject to any of the following five types of disabilities: physical disability, developmental disability, visual disability, hearing disability, or mental disability.” This definition is aligned with Illinois Statute: 15 ILCS 335/4a.

Updated February 25, 2021