UPDATE: Chicago has launched a new site where residents can schedule coronavirus vaccine appointments and get a real-time look at availability, officials announced Tuesday. Here's how you can sign-up.
Chicagoans looking for coronavirus vaccine appointments will soon be able to schedule their visits through an online portal in partnership with Zocdoc, the city is scheduled to announce Tuesday.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner is expected to announce the partnership at a 1 p.m. press conference Tuesday. (Watch live in the player above)
The so-called Zocdoc Vaccine Scheduler will be free of charge and "is designed to streamline vaccine scheduling," the city said in a release, noting that the scheduler won't go live until after the Tuesday announcement.
"Although the supply of vaccines is currently very limited, appointments will be added on an ongoing basis as more vaccines are allocated to providers. Chicagoans are still encouraged to seek a vaccine appointment with their primary care providers, if they have one, and also through local pharmacies or their employers, if available," the release states. "But the Zocdoc Vaccine Scheduler will serve as a free, public resource for Chicagoans who otherwise might have difficulty finding and accessing a vaccine."
Previously, Chicagoans were encouraged to sign up for vaccine information through "Chi COVID Coach," a platform the Chicago Department of Public Health is using to monitor symptoms, giving information on testing in the city and help give the latest details on the city's vaccination plan - including notification when you can register to get your vaccine.
But like the rest of Illinois, many residents have struggled to find access to appointments as they city grapples with limited vaccine supply and heightened demand, with Phase 1B opening up doses to a much wider population.
Phase 1B opens up vaccinations to people age 65 years and older as well as "frontline essential workers," which includes first responders, education workers like teachers and support staff, childcare workers, grocery store employees, postal service workers and more.
While anyone who qualifies for the vaccine in the phase is eligible to receive it, Chicago's Phase 1B aims to prioritize certain populations, health officials have said.
"So right from the beginning I want people to hear that even as the phase opens up, most people will not be able to get vaccine right away that first week, even that second week, etc.," Arwady said, adding that she hopes to get most people in Phase 1B vaccinated through February and March.
For those receiving the vaccine through the city, there will be prioritization for those with the highest risk and to help "lower barriers," Arwady said.
"The way this will broadly roll out is that over the months of February and March, anybody who is in either 65 or these frontline essential workers is eligible for vaccine," Arwady said. "And so for example, if I am a grocery store worker or I am a teacher or I work in public transit, and I have an appointment with my doctor, for example, my doctor absolutely can give me vaccine at any point after Jan. 25, but we will also be working to bring vaccine to employers, to partner with employers to lower the barriers for these groups to get vaccine."