The Vaccine Appointment Call Center launched Friday to assist people in booking COVID-19 vaccinations, Illinois health officials announced.
The call center was created for people who do not have access to book a coronavirus vaccination appointment online, or those who have difficulty navigating online services, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight, Illinois residents can call (833) 621-1284 for both English and Spanish-speaking agents, some with the ability to translate into other languages.
“We want to make sure our most vulnerable populations, such as our seniors and individuals in heavily impacted communities who may not have access to online services, are able to make appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “While vaccine is still limited, our allocations are increasing significantly and we want all Illinoisans to have access as quickly and easily as possible.”
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If an individual calls with access to the internet, the call agent will help the person navigate the registration site, officials said. However, if a resident calls without internet access, the agent will make an appointment on his or her behalf.
Officials reminded that individuals will need to share their name, address, email, mobile phone number, date of birth and eligibility. The agent will not ask for any financial information and the call center will not share personal information with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, a release said.
Aurora is set to open its third one-day mass vaccination site this weekend, with another on the way next week, health officials announced.
MASS VAX AURORA will open Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the former Carson Pirie Scott building, although appointments filled up within 15 minutes Thursday.
In partnership with Walgreens, the location will provide the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines to 2,000 Aurora residents, according to a release.
“We thank the Walgreens team for literally answering the call and stepping up for the people of Aurora,” Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin said. “We are building a team of health departments, hospitals, and pharmacies as we continue to take our fate into our own hands as we secure vaccines for Aurora residents.”
LATINvaX AURORA is scheduled to open next Friday, March 19 to provide 750 doses of the Moderna COVID vaccine to the city's Latinx community, officials announced. More information on how to sign up should be available next week.
Two new coronavirus vaccination sites are also set to open in Will County later this month for people eligible under Phase 1B, health officials announced Friday.
Beginning the week of March 22, Will County residents can begin receiving vaccine doses in Wilmington at St. Rose Church, and in Monee at the former Second Place Church starting the week of March 29.
The two clinics will administer vaccinations by appointment Tuesday through Sunday. To book an appointments, residents and workers in Will County can visit WillCountyHealth.org or call the COVID-19 Hotline at (815) 740-8977.
In Cook County, approximately 20,000 first-dose coronavirus vaccination appointments opened Friday for five locations, health officials announced.
The appointments opened at noon for those eligible in Phases 1A and 1B, but proof of eligibility will be required, officials said.
All vaccinations are by appointment only, health officials noted, with proof of eligibility in Phases 1A or 1B. The appointments can be made online at vaccine.cookcountyil.gov or by calling (833) 308-1988.
Those who receive vaccines through the Cook County sites will book their second-dose appointments the same day as their first-dose appointments.
The sites are part of several mass vaccination locations in Illinois. Currently, there are 22 statewide. Here's a full list.
Nine rural Illinois hospitals will also be receiving additional COVID vaccine doses from the state as part of a new program aimed at expanding equitable distribution, according to officials.
On Thursday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced the nine rural critical access hospitals were selected as part of the Safety Net Direct Vaccine Allocation Pilot Program that will provide hundreds of doses to each site per week.
The state will provide a total of nearly 6,000 doses of the vaccine to the nine hospitals in addition to the existing allocations that the state already is distributing to health care sites.
The effort marks the next phase of the vaccine pilot program that was announced last week in which five health centers and four hospitals received vaccine supply from the federal government.