Mayor Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today announced the opening of two new mass vaccination sites to increase distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to non-hospital and other community-based healthcare workers. With three more sites coming on-line in the next week, the City will have six Points of Dispensing (PODs) at City Colleges of Chicago locations, where ongoing administration of the vaccine is available by appointment for these workers who are vital to the ongoing response to the COVID outbreak.
“Community-based healthcare workers are the backbone of our healthcare system and it is critically important that they have access to the vaccine and step up to get it,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “What makes the POD sites so important is not simply size, but their locations, which give us the geographic breadth we need to reach all our residents in a safe and equitable way.”
Based on guidance from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), healthcare workers and long-term care facilities are in phase 1a of vaccine distribution. The City has been expanding on its initial work pushing out vaccines to these groups by including staff at outpatient facilities. There are close to 400,000 healthcare workers in Chicago, including doctors, nurses and additional clinical staff and support staff, as well as EMS providers, home health care workers and dentists.
“These are workers who have been treating COVID-19 patients in some of our hardest hit communities and continue to provide the critical testing, care, and resources needed by our most vulnerable residents during these challenging times,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “As we’re all well aware, COVID-19 has had a disproportionate and devastating impact on our Black and Latinx residents, and many of these workers and the people they treat are people of color. That is why we are here today and will continue to make racial equity the focus of all we do.”
Healthcare workers must make an appointment to receive a vaccine at one of the POD sites. A representative from their facility must complete the Staff Vaccination Inquiry Survey which is provided on the official CDPH vaccine web site – www.chicago.gov/covidvax – under the Healthcare Providers tab. After completing the survey, they will receive a facility code, and once a facility has received their code, they should send the code to their staff. The code is required in order to set up a vaccination appointment online.
The locations and hours for the POD sites are:
|POD Location||Opening Date||Hours|
|Malcolm X College
1900 W. Jackson Chicago, IL 60612
|Monday, December 28, 2020||Tuesday-Fri: 12-5:30pm
|Arturo Velasquez Institute
2800 S. Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60608
|Tuesday, January 12, 2021||Tuesday-Fri: 12-5:30pm|
|Richard J. Daley College
7500 South Pulaski Rd Chicago, IL 60652
|Wednesday, January 13, 2021||Tuesday-Fri: 12-5:30pm|
10001 South Woodlawn Ave Chicago, IL 60628
|Friday, January 15, 2021||Tuesday-Fri: 12-5:30pm|
6301 South Halsted St Chicago, IL 60621
|Tuesday, January 18, 2021||Tuesday-Fri: 12-5:30pm|
|Harry S Truman College
1145 West Wilson Ave Chicago, IL 60640
|Wednesday, January 19, 2021||Tuesday-Fri: 12-5:30pm|
While healthcare workers and residents and staff at long-term care facilities are part of phase 1a, under federal guidance 1b includes workers in essential and critical industries including emergency services personnel, people at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions, and people ages 65 years and older. The City expects to move into 1b soon while continuing to vaccinate individuals in 1a.
There is no cost for the vaccine and the goal is for all Chicago adults to be able to get vaccinated in 2021. As more vaccine continues to become available, several thousand vaccination providers are ready, including doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, and federally qualified health centers. CDPH has regular meetings with healthcare providers, community-based organizations and other partners to coordinate roll-out.
Even as vaccine distribution expands, it is essential for everyone to remain vigilant and continue following public health guidance to curb the spread of this disease:
- wear masks
- practice social distancing
- wash your hands regularly
- stay home as much as you can, and don’t have guests over, even beloved family members
- avoid travel
While some may be hesitant at first to get the vaccine, it is important to note that no steps were skipped during the clinical trial process and safety is and will remain a top priority. CDPH assembled its own scientific advisory committee of local experts to review the FDA process and provide guidance throughout the process in the coming year.
Another important note: The first COVID-19 vaccines will require two shots – the first shot starts building protection, but everyone will have to receive the second shot to receive maximum protection from the vaccine. mRNA vaccines, which are the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use, do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19, so they cannot give someone COVID-19.
Overall, the vaccines have been well tolerated. Some bothersome side effects such as fatigue and muscle aches lasting 1-2 days occur, and high fevers occur occasionally. These side effects are not dangerous. They indicate the vaccine is activating the body’s immune response against the virus that causes COVID-19 illness.
The City of Chicago will share vaccine updates at www.chicago.gov/COVIDvax. Vaccine information from the CDC can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html.