Resources on COVID-19 Vaccines

On this page, you will find guidance, policy updates, resources, and more as it relates to the COVID-19 vaccination for the state of Illinois.

The information is categorized in the following manner:


Guidance and Planning Tools

Federal Updates

COVID-19 Vaccines for Children Under 5 Years Old Approved

Over the weekend, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved COVID-19 vaccinations for children between the ages of six months and five years old. This means over 20 million youth are now eligible to receive the vaccine.

Federal Vaccination Resources for School-Located Vaccination Clinics

Last week, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) elevated several resources the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created for school administrators to set up vaccination clinics in places that K-12 students and their families know and trust. The following links provide additional information about pediatric COVID-19 vaccination and school-located vaccination clinics.

FDA Approval of COVID-19 Vaccination for Youth

On October 29, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is projected to receive around 100,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for youth and will be calling on local schools, health departments, and community partnerships to encourage families to vaccinate their children.

White House Outlines COVID-19 Vaccination Plans for Kids 5-11

Last week (week of October 18, 2021), the Biden Administration shared its COVID-19 vaccination plan for children age 5 to 11 as federal agencies consider granting emergency use authorization to provide both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccinations. Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Partnerships with schools and community-based organizations to provide vaccinations at locations that families can access and trust
  • Rapid shipment of vaccinations to sites
  • No federal mandate for pediatric physicians to be vaccinated

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Approves the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccination

On August 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for individuals 16 years and older. For children between 12 and 15 years old and immunocompromised individuals who need a third dose, the vaccine will continue to be available under emergency use authorization.

On May 4, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it was in the process of authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 to 15 years old. Yesterday, on May 10, 2021, the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine for this age group. To read the full article, click here.

On March 19, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it has updated its operational strategy guide for K-12 schools in order to reflect new evidence on physical distancing within classrooms. The CDC stated that:

  • With universal masking, students should maintain a distance of at least 3 feet in classroom settings. 
  • In elementary schools, CDC recommends all students remain at least 3 feet apart in classrooms where mask use is universal — regardless of whether community transmission is low, moderate, substantial, or high.
  • In middle and high schools, CDC also recommends students should be at least 3 feet apart in classrooms where mask use is universal and in communities where transmission is low, moderate, or substantial. 
  • Middle school students and high school students should be at least 6 feet apart in communities where transmission is high, if cohorting is not possible.

To read this updated guidance, click here.

On February 12, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced
updated guidance for K-12 schools as school districts across the nation begin to make the
transition back to in-person instruction. This new guidance is not a mandate for school
districts to reopen but rather a set of recommendations for making a safe shift to hybrid or
in-person facilitation.

On January 27, 2021, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials clarified that they consider Out-of-School Time (OST) program providers as essential workers along with teachers and child care workers with regard to vaccine priority. This means that OST providers would be considered to be in group 1B of states’ vaccine rollout plans. However, each state must include OST workers in their COVID-19 vaccine plans in order for program providers to be eligible to receive the vaccine.


State Updates

COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Licensed Day Care Center Providers Released

On October 22, 2021, Governor JB Pritzker and several state agencies announced a new vaccination mandate for licensed day care providers. Employees in these settings who are unable or unwilling to receive the vaccine will be required to get tested for COVID-19 at least once per week. Increased testing frequency may be required in certain situations.

Governor JB Pritzker Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement for Healthcare Workers, Pre-K-12 Teachers and Staff

On August 26, 2021, Governor JB Pritzker announced that all healthcare workers, including nursing home employees, all pre-k-12 teachers and staff, as well as higher education personnel and students will now be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

  • Workers and students in applicable settings must receive the first dose of a two-dose vaccination series or a single-dose vaccination by September 5, 2021. Second doses of the vaccine must be received by 30 days after the first dose. The announcement supersedes previous deadlines set for Chicago Public Schools (CPS)
  • Employees in all of these settings and higher education students who are unable or unwilling to receive the vaccine will be required to get tested for COVID-19 at least once per week, and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) may require increased testing in certain situations. 

Governor JB Pritzker also announced a statewide indoor mask mandate for all Illinois residents, regardless of vaccination status, as COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates continue to increase. The masking requirements are effective Monday, August 30, 2021. 

Chicago Public Schools Clarification on Vaccination Mandate for All Vendors

Last week, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced that as the district prepares to welcome students back to in-person on Monday, August 30, 2021, it will require that all vendor employees with regular direct contact with Chicago Public Schools students, and all vendor employees who are subject to a Chicago Public Schools background check, to be fully vaccinated unless they receive a medical or religious accommodation from their Employer. It will be the responsibility of each Vendor to certify to CPS that they comply with this vaccination requirement and that they maintain accurate personnel records to verify compliance. Vendor organizations will certify compliance by logging into the CPS Supplier Portal beginning August 30, 2021.

Chicago Public Schools New Reopening Guide for Families Released

On August 25, 2021, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced that the district will drop the electronic COVID-19 screener it previously required families to complete daily before students stepped onto campus. Instead, CPS is asking families and caregivers to utilize an online checklist of symptoms and fill out an “attestation” form four times a year confirming that practice. CPS also introduced a new reopening guide for parents to review before the start of the school year on Monday, August 30, 2021.

Illinois Department of Public Health: COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Partnership Opportunity for Afterschool Providers

On May 19, 2021, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) hosted a brief conversation with afterschool and summer learning providers to share an opportunity to partner with the agency to provide COVID-19 vaccination clinics for youth and families. IDPH encourages out-of-school time (OST) program providers to reach out to the agency if they are interested in collaborating to host a short-term or long-term clinic. IDPH also announced that all individuals ages 12 and older should utilize the new website to check and book an appointment for a vaccination. For questions, please connect with Jordan Hatcher at

Yesterday, May 12, 2021, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced vaccination locations across the state are prepared to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to young people ages 12 through 15 years. 

On March 2, 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services directed states and territories to get all teachers, school personnel, child care program educators, and other child care program staff members their first coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination by the end of the month. We need your help to monitor the implementation efforts of this directive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a short survey to learn:

  • The estimated number of staff in child care programs who have received a COVID-19 vaccination
  • Their reasons for getting vaccinated
  • The vaccination concerns or challenges that people who have not been vaccinated may have

To take the brief survey, click here

On March 18, 2021, Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced that starting on April 12, 2021, all residents age 16 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination regardless of location and medical background. This is in direct response to an increase in the national COVID-19 vaccination supply and a heightened capacity to administer the vaccination to Illinoisans across the state. All vaccinations are by appointment only. To access information on vaccination sites, click here. The Governor’s Office shared that there will also be announcements for populations that are to be prioritized before universal eligibility. Finally, IDPH shared that the agency has released a metrics-based, vaccination-informed framework for Illinois to advance to Phase 5 of the state’s Restore Illinois Plan. To read this framework, click here. To read the full press release, click here.

On March 16, 2021, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced that the agency will be focusing its mobile COVID-19 testing campaign on high-demand and high-risk populations across the state of Illinois. This is in direct response to a decline in the number of residents utilizing testing sites and in preparation for the next phases of the pandemic response. As a result, IDPH will be deploying its mobile testing teams to locations such as schools, processing plants, high-risk workplaces, and other targeted locations. To review the locations of mobile testing sites and the full press release, click here.

On February 10, 2021, Governor Pritzker announced that the state of Illinois is in the
process of expanding Phase 1B eligibility to individuals who have comorbidities and
underlying health conditions as defined by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control
(CDC). In addition, Illinois will also prioritize individuals with disabilities. This expansion also
applies to people 16 and older that aren’t otherwise covered in previous eligibility categories. To read the full press release and review eligibility, click here.

On January 25, 2021, Illinois transitioned into Phase 1B to administer COVID-19 vaccines to
those eligible in Priority Group 1B. Illinois has included the following providers under the
“educator” category eligible for vaccines in Priority Group 1B as outlined in Illinois
Department of Public Health COVID-19 Vaccination Plan:

  • Early Intervention personnel
  • Home- and center-based child care providers
  • Home Visiting & Maternal, Infant & Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV)
  • Head Start/Early Head Start providers
  • Preschool for All providers
  • Support staff, including custodial, transportation, kitchen, and other staff

Please note that Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) staff and family members of the
provider are not included in this priority group. It is expected to take at least several
months before all those who are eligible in Priority Group 1B to receive their first dose
of the vaccine. All eligible people must make an appointment with their local health
departments, medical centers, and pharmacies in order to receive a vaccine.


How to Get A Vaccine 101

  • Your County Health Department
  • Your Employer
    • Larger employers (of organizations with more than 250 employees) might have contracted with a provider to support larger vaccination opportunities for eligible staff
  • Your Local Pharmacy
    • When you are eligible, you may be able to schedule an appointment at your local pharmacy to be vaccinated
    • Pharmacies include: CVS, Walgreens HyVee, Jewel Osco, COSTCO, Mariano’s, and Kroger
    • Vaccine Location Map
  • Your Local Health Clinic
    • Some counties are targeting specific populations or neighborhoods and partnering with local health clinics
  • Your Primary Healthcare Provider
    •  When you are eligible, you may be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by visiting your primary care provider. You will have to check with your network to see if they are providing vaccinations.
  • COVID-19 Vaccination At-Home Program for Chicago Residents

    The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently announced that all Chicago residents are eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccination in their homes. Up to 10 people can be vaccinated at a time, so Chicagoans can invite family, friends or neighbors to their home to be vaccinated together. Every individual receiving their vaccination through the City’s At Home program is eligible to receive a $100 visa gift card. To schedule an appointment you can also call 312-746-4835. 

  • Community Flu and COVID-19 Clinics in Chicago

    The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is hosting over 50 free recurring flu clinics at large locations across the City, such as Chicago’s City Colleges, one-time clinics in high-risk communities, and various smaller clinics. Check out the Flu and COVID-19 vaccine schedule below to locate a clinic near you. *Pfizer booster shots will ONLY be available at Family Flu/COVID clinics. These locations may vary. Please click here to see booster shot eligibility.

  • Child COVID-19 Vaccination Resources

    Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago has developed a variety of resources for families, educators, and program providers to utilize in encouraging caregivers to vaccinate children ages 5 through 11. These resources include a blog posta digital toolkit, and a Facebook Webinar recording with Dr. Larry Kociolek, Infectious Diseases physician and Medical Director of Infection, Prevention and Control and Dr. Jennifer Kusma, Advanced General Pediatrics and Primary Care physician. Lurie Children’s Hospital is offering the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to individuals ages 5 years and older via appointment.

    Chicago Public Schools Child COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics

    Starting tomorrow, November 10, 2021, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will be hosting four regional school-based vaccination hubs for child COVID-19 vaccinations and using its mobile van to provide greater access for students on alternating days. The district says families can receive a $100 gift card if a student receives an initial vaccination at a Chicago Public Schools event. Regional hubs include:

    • Michele Clark Magnet High School
    • Richards High School
    • Chicago Vocational
    • Roosevelt High School 

    The clinics will offer vaccinations for 5- to 11-year-old students, vaccinations for older students and adults, and booster shots. The mobile vaccination van will offer shots for students ages 5 to 11 at four sites: Simeon, Portage Park, Mozart, and Bradwell. Parents must be present or consent for children to be vaccinated.

    Chicagoland Vaccine Partnership Month of Action Resources

  • The Chicagoland Vaccine Partnership is calling community-based organizations to action to help educate families and youth about the opportunities to get vaccinated in the Chicagoland area. The initiative has provided a variety of resources to help with this November campaign!

  • City of Chicago Family Vaccine Clinics

    The City of Chicago is hosting family vaccine clinics in an effort to help children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years old get vaccinated against COVID-19. These opportunities are available to everyone at not cost. To learn more and register to confirm your spot, click here.

Educational Resources

City of Chicago

State of Illinois

  • CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Tool
    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a COVID-19 vaccine
      toolkit for essential workers, including afterschool and child care providers. This
      communications toolkit provides resources on vaccine education, information on vaccine
      availability, and FAQs for employers and employees. The toolkit is regularly updated.
  • Top 5 Facts on the COVID-19 Vaccine
    • English and Spanish
  • Illinois Department of Public Health: V-Safe After Vaccination Health Checker
    • As more Illinois residents become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is encouraging those who receive a COVID-19 vaccination to utilize the V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker (v-safe). The V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker is a free program that also allows people to communicate directly with the CDC regarding any potential side-effects they may experience. To learn more about the program, click here.
  • ZocDoc: ZocDoc has released a COVID-19 vaccination screener to help you, your colleagues, and your community know if you are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination in Illinois. No personal information is necessary in order to utilize the survey. In order to access this screening mechanism, click here.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has curated social media messaging on COVID-19 vaccinations. These materials emphasize the fact that all COVID-19 vaccines are free, regardless of an individual’s immigration or health insurance status. The CDC also has Spanish versions of these social media messages on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Zocdoc: Vaccination Availability for Youth Ages 16 and Older
    Youth ages 16 and older in the City of Chicago are eligible to receive the COVID-19
    vaccination at the City’s pods. Families and parents must accompany their children.
    Walk-in’s are also available at the United Center. To access more information on COVID-
    19 vaccination, click here. You can also call 312-746-4835.
  • The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) have provided the following resources to support you in partnering with a community vaccine provider and communicating about the vaccine with students and families:

  • Supporting COVID-19 Vaccinations for Children 5 and Older

    The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has developed a series of resources to encourage families to vaccinate children ages five and older.

ACT Now Resources

Free At-Home Rapid COVID-19 Tests Available in 14 Counties

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced the availability of 225,000 free, rapid COVID-19 self-administered test kits through Project Access Covid Tests (Project ACT) to residents in certain zip codes in 14 Illinois counties. Counties include: Cook, DuPage, Henry, Jackson, Jefferson, Kankakee, Lake, Macon, Madison, Marion, Peoria, St. Clair, Will, and Winnebago. Residents within eligible zip codes must go to to sign up for a free home delivery. These tests are available on a first-come-first-served basis. Each household will receive five tests within one to two weeks after ordering.

ACT Now: Afterschool Town Hall – COVID, Summer Programming, and Planning for

ACT Now wants to continue to meet the needs of the Out-of-School Time (OST) space
during the pandemic! On March 2, 2021, we hosted a Town Hall to address your questions about COVID-19 and discuss plans for summer programming and vaccinations.

To access the recording for this webinar, click here.

To download the PowerPoint Slide deck, click here.

To review the Planning Resources, click here.

Afterschool Alliance Blog: COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout and Afterschool’s Role

The Afterschool Alliance has written a blog post on the role of afterschool and the COVID-19 vaccination rollout. It highlights the strategies the Alaska Afterschool Network utilized to prepare their communities for the vaccine rollout in the state. There are also toolkits that afterschool providers may use to help communicate and educate their colleagues and community members on the vaccine. To access this blog post, click here.


  • Question: How can your organization support afterschool staff in getting vaccinated?
    • Provide accurate information about the vaccine.
    • When talking to staff about vaccination acknowledge, historical trauma and mistrust with the health care system experienced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
    • Help your staff understand when they are eligible to get vaccinated.
    • Provide staff time to register for vaccines.
    • Provide staff time for staff to receive the vaccine and recover from possible side effects.
    • Support staff in their ability to get their second dose of the vaccine. 
    • COVID-19 vaccination is not mandatory by the State of Illinois and organizations should strive to create a positive work environment that supports your staff in their personal decision on the vaccine.
  • Question: What should your organization consider after your staff has been vaccinated?
    • COVID-19 is still widely prevalent throughout Illinois, and all organizations, programs, and individuals need to continue to take steps to reduce the spread of the virus even after staff members have received the vaccine. Individuals who have been vaccinated may still become infected with COVID-19 and could spread the virus. Here are a few key reminders about reducing the spread of COVID-19: 

      • Inform staff that even after they become vaccinated they could still become infected with COVID-19 so they must continue to follow your agency’s COVID-19 mitigation plan. 
      • Continue to follow all state, local, and tribal health mandates that apply to your community. 
      • Ensure staff wear facemasks and use personal protective equipment.
      • Practice social distancing when possible with students and staff. 
      • Review and update your organization’s COVID-19 mitigation plan.

      There is currently no vaccine approved for use with children under the age of 16 and we must all work together to ensure the health and safety of our students.