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Seniors Can Make United Center Vaccine Appointments Starting Thursday

Starting 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Illinois residents 65 and up can schedule an appointment. The United Center site will begin administering 6,000 shots daily on March 10.

Construction crews build a mass vaccination site Feb. 26 outside the United Center on the Near West Side.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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NEAR WEST SIDE — People 65 and older can sign up for one of 110,000 coronavirus vaccine appointments at the United Center super site starting Thursday, city leaders announced Tuesday.

Starting 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Illinois residents 65 and older can schedule an appointment at the soon-to-be-opened mass vaccination site at the United Center. The site is expected to open March 10 and will offer 6,000 shots a day.

Illinoisans 65 and older are eligible, as are people with certain underlying medical conditions, frontline workers and health care workers.

About 110,000 appointments will be available at the United Center, Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner, said Tuesday. Older people will have priority access to the appointments, and any remaining slots will be opened to other eligible populations on Sunday.

To sign up for an appointment, go to zocdoc.com/vaccine or call 312-746-4835. The hotline will be available every day during business hours. Those who have access to the website are asked to sign up in that way, which will ask screening questions to determine eligibility then list city locations and their appointment availability.

The senior registration will run 8:30 a.m. Thursday-4 p.m. Sunday, at which point any remaining slots will be made available to other people eligible for the vaccine in Phase 1B+.

RELATED: Here’s How To Get Vaccinated At The United Center

The number of appointments represent the United Center’s expected caseload for the first three weeks of its operation, Arwady said. The site will administer the Pfizer vaccine, meaning those who make an appointment there will need to return for a second dose.

The United Center site is expected to remain open longer than those three weeks, and future appointments will be made available down the road, Arwady said.

The United Center appointments are being reserved for older people, who have accounted for more than 80 percent of local coronavirus deaths, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a news conference Tuesday.

In Chicago, 250,000 people 65 and older have yet to receive the first dose of the vaccine. About 1 in 3 Chicagoans 65 and older have received at least their first shot, Lightfoot said.

“The only way to fully recover from this pandemic is getting seniors vaccinated as soon as possible,” Lightfoot said. “This is an all-call to seniors, their family members or anyone else in a senior’s network … to get them signed up for appointments before they are taken.”

The United Center vaccination site is expected to dramatically increase the amount of shots available in the city.

RELATED: Here’s How You Can Get Vaccinated Against Coronavirus In Chicago

The site will be able to give up to 6,000 shots per day, seven days a week — and those doses will come directly from the federal government rather than being taken from Illinois’ or Chicago’s limited supply of doses, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

Vaccines will be given in the United Center parking lot. There will be a portion of the site dedicated to those with mobility issues, and older people can bring one person to accompany them to the site.

Uber will offer 20,000 free rides to older people who need help getting to the United Center. Access to the Uber offer will be made available to those who sign up for a shot appointment, city officials said.

The city is making other efforts to reach older people, some of whom have struggled to find appointments due to internet access issues.

The Department of Public Health is partnering with the Fire Department to vaccinate homebound seniors, Lightfoot announced Tuesday. The city will also host “special vaccine events” for older people in 10 neighborhoods this month.

More details on those efforts are forthcoming, city officials said.

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