united center covid vaccine

Chicago's Top Doctor Reveals Where the COVID Vaccine is Being Focused in the Area

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Chicago officials have been focusing initial outreach around the coronavirus vaccine rollout in five specific zip codes, the city's top doctor said Tuesday.

During a Facebook Live event, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said all vaccination appointments are not simply going to those five zip codes, but officials have begun focusing initial outreach and engagement on the communities.

Here are the zip codes in which health officials have initiated vaccination engagement:

  • 60612
  • 60608
  • 60652
  • 60620
  • 60619

Some neighborhoods in the zip codes listed above include: East Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Near West Side, Lawndale, University Village, West Town, Bridgeport, Brighton Park, Little Village, McKinley Park, Lawndale, Armour Square, Pilsen, Ashburn, Gresham, Auburn Gresham, Scottsdale, West Lawn, Wrightwood, Marquette Park, Beverly, Chatham, West Chatham, Englewood, Brainerd, Park Manor, Avalon Park, Burnside, Calumet Heights, Grand Crossing, Longwood Manor and Roseland.

Arwady noted that some communities, such as North Lawndale and Humboldt Park, are already part of the Protect Chicago Plus initiative, which works to get vaccine to areas of the city that are under vaccinated.

Majority of vaccination appointments at the United Center mass vaccination site, she said, should be going to Chicago and suburban Cook County residents.

"We're aiming for 60% of the vaccine appointments to go to city of Chicago residents, 30% to go to suburban Cook residents and 10% to go to Illinois residents who live outside of suburban Cook County," Arwady said.

A coalition of federal, state and local officials announced late last month that the United Center would be turned into a mass vaccination site under a new federal pilot program.

The United Center site, which opened Tuesday, will operate seven days a week for eight weeks and will be able to administer 6,000 shots per day at full capacity, officials said, noting that vaccinations would be by appointment only and that demand was "anticipated to be high." Those doses will be provided directly from the federal government and not diverted from the supply sent to Chicago or Illinois.

The United Center was selected for the new vaccination site, announced late last month through a partnership with state, city, county and federal officials under a nationwide pilot program, was selected based in part based on its central location and accessibility for a "significantly medically underserved and marginalized population" to bring vaccines to "particularly vulnerable communities."

As of Tuesday, only 50,000 appointments at the United Center site opened to the public over the past few days, officials revealed, in a major walk-back of their initial announcement that roughly 110,000 appointments were made available.

During a news conference at the United Center site to mark its first day in operation, Arwady repeated what officials had previously said, that about 40,000 Illinois residents over the age of 65 signed up for appointments during a special registration period exclusively for seniors from Thursday to Sunday.

Arwady said about 10,000 additional appointments were subsequently made available when registration expanded Sunday, for a total of roughly 50,000 appointments - less than half what officials had repeatedly said would be offered.

Officials initially said in announcing the sign-up process earlier this month that a total of 110,000 appointments would be opened to the public over the course of three days, beginning with the special registration period for seniors and then expanding to all Illinois residents eligible under Phase 1B Plus on Sunday.

But less than an hour before registration was set to open beyond seniors on Sunday afternoon, officials announced that eligibility for the new appointments would be narrowed from all Illinois residents in Phase 1B Plus to only Chicago residents in that same category, frustrating some waiting to book appointments at the new site.

Here's a look at how to register once more appointments become available:

  • To register online, visit ZocDoc.com/vaccine. The web site is projected to handle much higher volume of appointment requests. Zocdoc will show real-time appointment availability and eligible residents will then 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 multi-lingual call center will be available to help seniors make an appointment from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Given the anticipated high demand for appointments, residents who can use the website should book their appointments online, as those who need to use the call center will very likely experience lengthy wait times.

Vaccinations will be offered at no cost and insurance is not required, nor will it be requested at the site.

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