CHICAGO — Health care workers in Chicago can now sign up to get vaccinated against coronavirus.
The city has vaccinated more than 20,000 people so far, but those vaccinations have largely been done among people who work in hospitals. Starting Tuesday, though, Chicago’s Department of Public Health is vaccinating outpatient health care workers.
A mass vaccination site for health care workers has been set up at Malcolm X College, and officials have said there are more to come. But people must sign up in advance and make an appointment to get vaccinated the site or elsewhere.
Vaccinations are available to all kinds of outpatient health care workers, including morticians and people working in dentist offices, correctional facilities and homeless shelters.
“Every person, every vaccine that we give here in Chicago takes us one step closer to normal,” Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said when she was vaccinated Tuesday. “It is a responsibility for people, for themselves, for their families, for society” to get vaccinated.
Here’s how health care workers can get vaccinated:
1. Outpatient practices with health care workers should register with the city online.
2. Health department officials will review the responses and decide whether to connect employees of that practice with a hospital where they can be vaccinated, to send vaccine doses directly to the practice or to help employees make appointments at a mass vaccination site.
3. If employees are told to get vaccinated at a city site, the city will provide them with a code they can use to sign up for an appointment. Employees will then individually make appointments online. They’ll need to provide basic info about who they are and answer questions about their medical history.
4. The workers will go to the city site where they made their appointment and get vaccinated. If the city had concerns about their medical history, a city worker will talk to the person being vaccinated before the shot is given.
Workers will have to wait 15 minutes after the shot to ensure they do not have a negative reaction. People with a history of allergic reactions or other concerns might have to wait 30 minutes.
People getting vaccinated will be given a card with information about the vaccine dose they received.
5. People being vaccinated will return to the same site to receive a second dose of the vaccine. People getting a Pfizer vaccine must wait 21 days before getting the second shot, while people getting the Moderna vaccine must wait 25 days before getting the second shot.
Arwady and other officials have said they hope everyone will eventually get vaccinated, though it will be months before vaccines are available more widely due to the limited supply and high demand.
Officials have said the vaccines will eventually mark an end to the pandemic — but only if enough people get them.
This is “how we start to get back to normal, as more and more people get it,” Arwady said.
Vaccinating health care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff will likely take all of January and February, Arwady said. The city might be able to start vaccinating the next groups of people — certain frontline workers and people 75 and older — at the end of February or early spring, she said.
Even people who have had coronavirus should get vaccinated, officials have said.
And people should keep take safety precautions like wearing a mask and practicing social distancing after being vaccinated to protect themselves and others, officials have said. Those precautions will likely be needed until well into 2021 since it will be months before there’s widespread vaccinations, officials have said.
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