Along with the rest of Illinois, Chicago is preparing for its next round of COVID-19 vaccinations starting on Monday. The vaccine will be administered to healthcare workers and residents living in long-term care facilities. That’s around 850,000 people that city officials hope to vaccinate in the first phase of this round of vaccinations. “Every day is a matter of life and death for our residents, especially in our communities of color, which have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” expressed Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President, as she addressed a crowd at a recent vaccination event. Preckwinkle also went on to say that she will be taking the vaccine next week herself and urged others to do the same, saying, “The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective, and our best chances to return to some sense of normalcy.”
Next up are residents 65 and over and essential workers. With nearly 1.3 million essential workers, including teachers, law enforcement officers, store clerks, transit employees, child-care providers, and around 1.9 million residents over 65, officials say it will be March before the second phase of vaccinations is completed. Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago’s commissioner of the Department of Public Health, notes that the vaccine will not be available for the remainder of Chicago residents until later this spring.
Currently, Chicago receives 32,000 doses of the vaccine each week. Both Mayor Lightfoot and Dr. Arwady have urged the federal government to increase the number of doses the city receives to speed up the delivery to the city’s residents. The city has increased its number of vaccination sites from 78 to 91 this week to support vaccination demand as more residents become eligible.
Governor Pritzer announced the opening of four new vaccination sites in suburban cook county Tuesday. In a statement released by Pritzer, he expressed that “Illinois is moving forward with an aggressive vaccination plan that centers equity and focuses on communities which have been disproportionally impacted by COVID-19.”
The new suburban sites will administer vaccines to eligible residents Monday – Friday from 9 AM until 5 PM by appointment only. Officials in suburban cook county stress the importance of getting the vaccine immediately after it becomes available to its residents.
The facilities are located at:
- County Health’s North Riverside Health Center, 1800 S. Harlem Ave. in North Riverside IL
- Cook County Health’s Morton East Adolescent Health Center, 2423 S. Austin Blvd. in Cicero IL
- Cook County Health’s Cottage Grove Health Center, 1645 Cottage Grove Ave. in Ford Heights IL
- Cook County Health’s Robbins Health Center, 13450 S. Kedzie Ave. in Robbins IL
To find out when you are eligible for vaccination, please visit https://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/vaccine-faq.
Paula J. Shelton is a freelance writer and journalist based in Chicago. Find her on social @beboldshineon.