Teams to vaccinate people against COVID-19 will be dispatched to workplaces and commercial buildings in Chicago and across Illinois, officials announced Monday.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the program in a joint news conference with health officials and other community leaders.
The effort will begin in mid-May with 10 sites in Chicago, Schaumburg and Rockford in the first wave of the program. Those sites are:
- Merchandise Mart, 222 West Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago
- Harris Bank Building, 115 S. LaSalle Street, Chicago
- 540 W. Madison Street, Chicago
- Equitable Building, 401 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago
- 150 N. Riverside Plaza, Chicago
- 311 South Wacker (Walgreens at 250 S Wacker Dr), Chicago
- Wrigley Building, 400-410 North Michigan Avenue (Walgreens at 410 N Michigan Ave), Chicago
- 308 W. State Street, Rockford
- 1111 S. Alpine Road, Rockford
- 1061 American Lane, Schaumburg
Dates and times for the vaccination events will be promoted in advance, officials said, noting that they have been chosen strategically around shift changes.
“Having vaccine available where you work makes getting vaccinated very convenient,” Pritzker said in a statement. “SEIU and other area unions, local businesses, and the building managers have worked hand in hand with IDPH to make this as easy as possible. It’s exciting to see traffic in commercial districts across Illinois begin to pick up after a long year apart – an achievement only possible because of the life-saving protection of vaccines and the consequent reduction of cases and hospital admissions. More vaccinations will mean more of a return to normal for everyone.”
The sites will offer two-dose vaccinations. The effort is a partnership with the Building Owners and Managers Association and local unions to encourage building staff and employees to sign up for appointments in advance, but will also take walk-ins, officials said.
Other building operators in the state who are interesting in hosting clinics at their own facilities are encouraged to contact BOMA or the Illinois Department of Public Health directly to set it up.
The state is also holding vaccination clinics for community organizations, churches, nonprofits and more. Interested groups can sign up here. The clinics are held at no cost, with IDPH providing the staff and supplies.
Monday's update came as Chicago and Illinois both prepare to move into the Bridge Phase of the state's COVID reopening plan this week. Pritzker announced last week that the state would move from the current Phase 4 into the transitional Bridge Phase on May 14 after case numbers and hospitalizations, which began increasing again weeks ago, have stabilized.
Previously under more strict guidelines than the rest of the state, Chicago officials late last month that the city would join the rest of Illinois in moving to the Bridge Phase if it meets the metrics.
Illinois is currently in Phase 4 of its reopening plan and must first enter the Bridge Phase, a transitional period before the final Phase 5, which would see all sectors of the economy fully reopened and no capacity limits.
The Bridge Phase will allow for higher capacity limits at places like museums, zoos and spectator events as well as increased business operations during a transitional period between the current guidelines and a full reopening.
For a full look at what changes between Phase 4, the Bridge Phase and Phase 5, click here.
To advance to the Bridge Phase, the entire state was required to reach a 70% first-dose vaccination rate for residents 65 and older, in addition to maintain the current required metrics of at least 20% ICU beds availability and holding steady on hospitalizations for COVID-19 or COVID-like illnesses, mortality rates and case rates over a 28-day monitoring period.
Officials said Thursday that the state has vaccinated 60% of all adults and 85% of residents ages 65 and older - both well above the threshold to advance.
While the state reached the vaccination metrics required to move from Phase 4 to the Bridge Phase, increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations prevented the state from moving into the new phase in recent weeks.
Pritzker also revealed Thursday that the state is on track to enter Phase 5 - which would mark a full reopening - as early as June 11. Chicago is targeting the Fourth of July for a full reopening.