Chicago residents eligible for the COVID vaccine can now get the shot at two new locations in the city of Chicago, as sites at Chicago State University and Gallagher Way, next door to Wrigley Field, opened this week.
“I felt very safe. It was clean,” said Tonya Ames, who got vaccinated Monday. “We got in, we sat down, got the shot and we left after 15 minutes.”
The two mass vaccination sites opened to people with appointments only on the city's North and South sides. Appointments can be booked through ZocDoc, but resident Billy Randall told NBC 5 he left without getting vaccinated at Chicago State because they couldn’t find him in the system.
“I don’t feel good about it. I’m mad. I got to go back and try to do something else again,” he said. “I just turned 70 years old and I can’t get a shot.”
Chicago State University transformed the Jones Convocation Center into a mass vaccination site. The plan is to administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to 1,200 people at the site, with the vaccine only requiring one dose.
“It is very important when you’re ready step up, stand up, and get vaccinated,” said Howard Brown Dr. Maya Green.
The site is operated by the Chicago Department of Public Health. Chicago State University will open a drive thru vaccination site in mid April, according to officials.
“Our site is a critical resource for equitable recovery in the city of Chicago. Our neighborhoods on the south side of Chicago we have seen some of the largest infection rates and the most severe health consequences of our citizens,” said Chicago State President Zaldwaynaka Scott.
On the north side, Advocate Aurora Health is partnering up with the city to give a minimum of 1,500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine per day.
“I’m so proud to be here today to promote this partnership that allows that access more vaccines in more patients,” said Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center Dr. David Trotter
Doctors are urging people to get the shot to protect themselves and their loved ones. Some even worried about a possible fourth surge of the pandemic and a variant of the virus now spreading in young children.
“Please understand this B.1.1.7 variant is a brand new ball game. In fact right here in Minnesota we’re now seeing the other aspects of this b.1.1.7 variant that hasn’t been talked much about and that is the fact it infects kids very readily unlike the previous strains of the virus,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, who is the Director of the Centers for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “We didn’t see children under 8th grade get infected often or they were not frequently very ill. They didn’t transmit to the rest of the community."
Doctors are continuing to remind people of the importance of social distancing, washing hands, and wearing masks.