While the United Center will transform its parking lots into a mass coronavirus vaccination site later this month, another iconic Chicago stadium could potentially follow its lead.
According to Advocate Aurora Health, a mass vaccination site is being explored at Wrigley Field, aiming to help even more Chicago-area residents to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to a statement by health system officials, there are still a few hurdles to clear for the site to become a reality, including authorization by the city of Chicago.
“We are proud to partner on a possible Wrigley Field mass vaccination site, which would potentially be authorized by the city of Chicago,” the hospital system said in a statement. “If the site is designated, and city vaccine supplies become available, Advocate Aurora Health would provide clinical staffing and technical infrastructure.”
According to hospital officials, the location at Wrigley Field is under consideration because of its proximity to several CTA bus lines and the CTA Red Line, “ensuring residents of disproportionately impacted communities have access to the vaccine as supplies are available.”
According to a Cubs' team spokesperson, the team has been in discussions with the city of Chicago to host a mass vaccination site on the campus.
"If called upon, we would be honored to offer our assets to help distribute a life-saving vaccine," the spokesperson said.
During a press briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said the Wrigley Field site is one of many that are being explored at this time, and that city officials are thrilled to see hospital systems being creative in trying to expand access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We encourage all of our providers to bring vaccine out of the clinic and into the community, and we see many of them doing that,” she said.
The big issue that has prevented more mass vaccination sites from opening is the limited amount of COVID vaccine available, an issue that health systems are beginning to work through after the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine was approved for emergency use by the FDA.
“We don't typically have enough vaccine at this point to be able to over-allocate vaccine,” Arwady said. “So if Advocate Aurora decides to use some of its weekly vaccine doses, and we've seen a lot of providers doing this saying, ‘I want to host a church event, I want to host a community event,’ when they're doing that from their existing vaccine supplies, we absolutely love it.”