CHICAGO — People 65 and older and frontline essential workers can start getting vaccinated against coronavirus Monday in Chicago.
But all those vaccinations will be done through appointments — and the appointments will be extremely limited due to the low supply of vaccine doses, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said at a Thursday news conference.
Many people will have to wait weeks before there’s a vaccine dose — and appointment — available for them, Arwady said.
“The amount of vaccine that we are getting each week, right now, will allow us to vaccinate 5 percent — 1 in 20 of the people who are eligible,” Arwady said.
There are more than 360,000 Chicagoans who are 65 or older and more than 300,000 essential workers who will be eligible for vaccines come Monday. But the city only gets about 32,000 doses of vaccine per week from the federal government.
“I know a lot of you are going to feel frustrated …,” Arwady said. “I urge patience and to think that where we are directing vaccine, it’s going to the places that will decrease your risk as a Chicagoan.
“And we will not waste vaccine.”
Where Can You Register To Get Vaccinated?
There is currently no place for people in 1B to sign up to be vaccinated at a city site, though they can try to get vaccinated at other places.
People who want updates from the city on how and when they can get vaccinated can sign up with Chi COVID Coach.
More information on the city’s vaccine plan is available online.
How To Get Vaccinated Starting Monday
The city will release more information Monday, directing eligible people how they can start to try to get vaccinated, Arwady said.
Still, it will likely be weeks before many people are able to secure an appointment because demand for vaccines is high while supply of doses is low.
The vaccinations will be done through four avenues: health care providers, like doctor’s offices, hospitals and federally qualified health centers; pharmacies; city-run sites; and people’s workplaces.
Arwady emphasized everyone will need to make an appointment through one of those facilities to get vaccinated.
Health Care Providers
Many doctor’s offices, hospitals and federally qualified health centers will vaccinate people starting with Phase 1B.
Health care providers are already reaching out to the most at-risk Chicagoans — those who are older and have underlying health conditions — to set up vaccinations for them, Arwady said. That will ramp up starting Monday.
People who haven’t heard from their health care provider but who are eligible for a vaccine and want to get one can first try contacting their doctor or regular health clinic, Arwady said.
More than 100 pharmacies have signed on with the city to offer coronavirus vaccinations.
On Monday, the city will release information about how eligible people can try to get an appointment at those facilities.
The city has created six mass vaccination sites that it’s used to vaccinate health care workers.
People cannot show up at the city-run sites and get vaccinated — they need an appointment. And there’s currently no place where people in Phase 1B can make an appointment.
Appointments at those sites will eventually be open to older Chicagoans and others in Phase 1B, but not until several weeks into February, and they’ll be very limited, Arwady said.
Once appointments are available at the mass vaccination sites, city workers will look at people’s date of birth to verify their age and that they’re eligible for 1B.
The city has set up a site for Fire Department and Police Department workers, Arwady said.
Some frontline workers will be able to be vaccinated through their workplaces, Arwady said.
For example, the city will provide day care facilities with information about how their workers can make appointments at city-run sites, while grocery store workers might be able to get vaccinated at a pharmacy in their store.
The city will work with public, private and parochial schools so teachers and other staff members can get vaccinated at those workplaces, with vaccinations likely available by mid-February, Arwady said.
Who Can Get Vaccinated Under Phase 1B
- Chicagoans age 65 and older.
- People in non-health care residential settings, like people in correctional settings, homeless shelters and other residential settings with local outbreaks.
- Correctional workers and first responders.
- Grocery store workers and workers in manufacturing/factory settings with outbreaks.
- Daycare, k-12 and early education workers.
- Public transit, other manufacturing and agriculture workers.
- Government and postal workers.
People who were eligible under Phase 1A — health care workers — can also still be vaccinated during Phase 1B and future phases.
Who Gets Vaccinated Next?
Phase 1B vaccinations are expected to continue for all of February and most of March.
The city tentatively plans to move into Phase 1C by March 29. That phase will allow Chicagoans 16-65 with underlying medical conditions and other essential workers to get vaccinated.
Phase 2 — when anyone 16 or older can get vaccinated — would begin at the end of May, according to the plan.
Younger children likely won’t be able to be vaccinated until this summer, at the earliest, since experts are still researching if the vaccines are safe for kids, Arwady previously said.
The overall campaign is expected to take most of 2021. People who are eligible to be vaccinated during phases 1A, 1B or 1C but wait can still get vaccinated during later phases.
Most people will be vaccinated through pharmacies, doctor’s offices and urgent care clinics, among other health care settings.
The dates for the plan are very tentative and hinge on how many vaccine doses the city gets from the federal government, Arwady previously said. So far, Chicago has only gotten about 32,000 doses per week.
More than 105,000 doses of vaccine have been administered in Chicago so far — but Arwady’s said that number doesn’t include non-residents who were vaccinated in Chicago.
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