More than 100,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointments at the United Center’s new mass vaccination site opened Thursday. Here’s what you need to know, including how to register:
Appointments opened exclusively for Illinois residents 65 and older at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Governor JB Pritzker said, noting there are two ways to sign up:
- To register online, visit Zocdoc.com/vaccine. The website is expected to handle a much higher volume of appointment requests. Zocdoc will display appointment availability in real time and eligible residents will be able to select a date / time and book an appointment online. Date of birth will be required when booking an appointment to confirm vaccine eligibility.
- To register by phone, call (312) 746-4835. A multilingual call center will be available to help seniors make an appointment from 8 am to 8 pm Monday through Saturday and 8 am to 4 pm on Sunday. Given the anticipated high demand for appointments, residents who can use the website must book their appointments online. While the call center has 200 employees, those who need to use the call center are likely to experience long wait times.
The senior-only registration period will be open through Sunday afternoon, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a Facebook Live update Tuesday.
“Appointments will be open only to seniors, 65 and older, from Thursday 8:30 AM to Sunday 4 PM So Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday It’s the time that if you’re over 65, if you know someone over 65, help them get a date, “Arwady said.
“Then once we get to Sunday, if we don’t see all the appointments taken by people 65 and older, starting at 4 pm on Sunday is when we will open up to people with underlying conditions,” Arwady added.
A coalition of federal, state and local officials announced last week that the United Center would become a mass vaccination site under a new federal pilot program, set to open on March 10.
But Pritzker said Tuesday that the site will open on a limited basis the day before, on March 9, with a full opening the next day. Arwady said the early opening was possible based on “how some of the resources are coming in.”
The United Center site will operate seven days a week for eight weeks and will be able to deliver 6,000 injections a day at full capacity, authorities said, noting that the vaccines would be performed by appointment only and that demand was “anticipated to be high. “. Those doses will be provided directly from the federal government and will not deviate from the supply shipped to Chicago or Illinois.
The vaccines will be offered free of charge and insurance is not required, nor will it be ordered on site, the Pritzker office said.
Officials also noted that Uber is offering 20,000 free rides to and from the United Center for Chicagoans who need help with transportation. After a Chicago resident books an appointment with Zocdoc, they will receive a confirmation email asking if they need a ride. If so, they will receive a $ 40 Uber credit that will only work for rides to and from the location.
Arwady said Tuesday that the site’s first weeks of operation would take place immediately, but that there are plans to add a driving component in the coming weeks.
After the senior-only special registration period, the site will be open to all Illinois residents, not just those living in Chicago, who currently qualify for vaccinations under the current Phase 1B Plus of the Illinois vaccine implementation plan. condition.
The state expanded Phase 1B guidelines last week, opening up eligibility to include people with certain high-risk medical conditions and comorbidities.
The list of qualifying high-risk medical conditions (which is subject to change) includes:
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Heart problems
- Immunosuppressed status of a solid organ transplant
- Of smoking
- The pregnancy
- Lung disease
- Sickle-cell anaemia
Previously, in phase 1B of the previous iteration, residents 65 and older, as well as essential workers, were eligible to receive the vaccine. Here’s a look at those who have already qualified in Phase 1B:
- Residents 65 and over
- Essential Frontline Workers, which means “residents who are at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to their job duties, often because they are unable to work from home and / or must work closely with others without being able to socially distance themselves” . This includes:
- First responders: Firefighters, Law Enforcement, 911 Workers, Security Personnel, School Officials
- Education: Teachers, principals, student support, student aids, daycare worker
- Food and Agriculture: Processing, plants, veterinary health, livestock services, animal care
- Manufacturing: Industrial production of goods for distribution to the retail, wholesale or other manufactures.
- Correctional workers and inmates: Jail Officers, Juvenile Facilities Staff, In-Person Support Workers, Inmates
- USPS workers
- Public transport workers: Flight crew, bus drivers, train drivers, taxi drivers, paratransit drivers, in-person support, ride-sharing services
- Grocery Store Workers: Baggers, cashiers, warehouses, collection, customer service
- Shelters and daycare staff: Homeless shelter, women’s shelter, adult day program / walk-in program, sheltered workshop, psychosocial rehabilitation
While the state expanded its Phase 1B, many counties, health departments and hospital systems, including Chicago and Cook County, said they would not join the rest of Illinois in increasing eligibility, citing the low supply of vaccines for those who already qualify. The United Center will be the only vaccination site where Chicago and Cook County residents who are eligible for Phase 1B Plus will be able to get vaccinated.
The United Center is one of 18 “federally established community immunization centers” across the country that the administration of President Joe Biden highlighted on Friday as recently opened or inaugurated in the coming weeks, which will be able to administer a combined 61,000 injections per day in full capacity.
Those sites, including the United Center, were selected based on a variety of criteria, including the “Social Vulnerability Index” from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
That index helps officials “identify and map the communities likely to need support before, during, and after a hazardous event” taking into account “critical data points, including socioeconomic status, household composition, minority status, languages, type of housing and transportation, “the White House said.
Chicago and Cook County were identified as having a “significantly underserved and medically underserved population,” the White House said, adding that the United Center is located in a “central and accessible” area with nearby public transportation. and high walkability for pedestrians.
“The site will serve 2.9 million people living within a 30-minute drive time,” the White House said, noting that 22,000 people live within a one-mile walk of the sand.
“The United Center is one of the best places to vaccinate large numbers of people in America – it’s easily accessible, it’s in the middle of a medically underserved community, it can handle large crowds, and it’s well known to everyone in Illinois.” , Pritzker said in a statement last week.
“I am deeply grateful to the Biden-Harris management for working closely with us to bring this high-capacity site, and I am particularly proud that we have worked together to put seniors first in this process, getting much closer to ending to this pandemic, “he continued.