COVID vaccine

How to Register for COVID-19 Vaccine Updates in Chicago, Find Out When You Can Get Vaccinated

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The city of Chicago is preparing to enter Phase 1B of its vaccination plan along with the rest of Illinois Monday, opening up doses for frontline workers and those over the age of 65.

But, city officials have warned, even if you qualify to be vaccinated in this next phase, you can't register through the city's vaccination sites yet.

How can you find out when it's your turn to get vaccinated?

Chicago officials say the best way to get updates on the vaccination rollout is 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 you get the latest details on the city's vaccination plan - including notification when you can register to get your vaccine.

You can sign up for Chi COVID Coach here.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady on Thursday detailed the four ways in which residents can get vaccinated once eligible: through their medical system or health care provider, through pharmacies, through a dedicated vaccination location like the points of dispensing sites, or through their employer.

She noted that the first way, through residents' individual health care providers, is how most people will be vaccinated and said many providers have already begun reaching out to their most vulnerable patients to schedule appointments.

Phase 1B includes anyone over the age of 65, as well as frontline essential workers that have been prioritized, like first responders, people who work in correctional facilities, grocery store workers, day care workers, people who work in manufacturing settings, educators and those in school settings, public transit employees, postal workers and more.

"For people to be able to register, first as a reminder, most people are going to be vaccinated through their health care provider, so if people have a regular health care provider, a federally qualified health center, a hospital etc., they will be helping, they will be reaching out to you but also that is a right place to start because we are enrolling dozens of more providers every day," she said.

Arwady noted that Chi COVID Coach is the place to look for the latest updates and that centralized registration was currently only available to health care workers who qualify for vaccination under Phase 1A.

"We are working, and again, we'll be sharing as we formally move into 1B on Monday what some of that more centralized site is, and there will be some very limited appointments that will be available, but most people will be getting vaccine through their provider or through their pharmacy," she said.

"So Chi COVID Coach if people are feeling very concerned about wanting to make sure that they're up to date. As we formally move into 1B we'll be sharing more about the centralized system, but great majority of people will get vaccine outside that centralized system," Arwady continued.

She also said Friday that the city is receiving far fewer doses of the vaccine from the federal government than initially anticipated, only enough each week to vaccinate 5% of Chicagoans eligible in Phase 1B.

Arwady said the city next week would receive just over 34,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which is roughly the same amount the city has received each week since shipments began. But she noted that Chicago has more than 360,000 residents over the age of 65 and more than 300,000 people who are employed in some of the sectors eligible under Phase 1B.

"So, particularly if you're in your 60s or you don't have a lot of underlying conditions. I want you to understand it is likely to be a number of weeks before you are able to receive vaccine," she said.

Arwady said Chicago health officials were "excited" to see the administration of President Joe Biden, inaugurated Wednesday, in place as he has "pledged more transparency around vaccine availability" but she noted that the city was not likely to see significant increases in vaccine shipments for "probably at least three weeks."

"We get a lot of questions about, 'Why can't we move faster?' We can move faster as more vaccine gets here," Arwady said, adding, "My main word for you is patience.

Earlier in the week, Arwady released new details about the city's vaccine distribution plan, including tentative dates for when each of the next phases might begin, with a goal of opening vaccinations up to all Chicagoans over the age of 16 by the end of May.

Arwady announced in a livestream on Tuesday that the city will tentatively look to enter Phase 1C, on March 29, followed by Phase 2 on May 31.

"I want to be very clear that any dates we provide are purely speculative based on how much vaccine we get," Arwady said.

Phase 1C includes all essential workers not covered in earlier phases, as well as Chicagoans between the ages of 16 and 64 who have underlying medical conditions, Arwady said.

"Looking ahead to Phase 2, which is really when a vaccine is available to all Chicagoans, we're tentatively saying that might begin May 31, the end of May. All of these numbers for Phase 1C and Phase 2 is subject to change but just to give people a high level sense of what we're thinking," Arwady said.

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