Construction crews build a mass vaccination site Feb. 26 outside the United Center on the Near West Side. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO — More than 30,000 people have made appointments at the United Center mass vaccination site.

The city opened appointments 8:30 a.m. Thursday, promising to offer 110,000 slots to start with. More appointments will be made available in coming weeks.

As of Friday morning, more than 30,000 appointments have been made, Gov. JB Pritzker said. And all of the drive-thru slots that were available over a three-week period have been taken, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a livestream.

Within the first three hours of registration, 13,000 seniors had signed up.

“Thank you to those 13,000 people who probably have been quite anxious to get a vaccine up ’til now,” Arwady said.

Many people experienced hiccups when appointments opened in the morning: The website to sign up wouldn’t show any openings, and the hotline to make an appointment over the phone was busy.

But most of those issues appeared to be resolved within the hour, with people reporting online how they were able to secure appointments through the website.

Appointments at the United Center are only available to Illinoisans 65 and older for now. If there are still appointments left, other eligible people will be able to get them starting 4 p.m. Sunday.

The actual administration of shots will begin next week. The site will be open for at least eight weeks.

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

Arwady said the appointments are good news.

The vaccination site is expected to significantly boost inoculation efforts in and around Chicago — especially because the doses being used will come from the federal government rather than from the city’s or state’s supplies.

But many more people need to vaccinated. Just one in eight Chicagoans has gotten vaccinated against COVID-19 so far, which officials have said is largely due to the low amount of doses being provided to the city. One in three Chicagoans 65 or older has gotten vaccinated, though.

The city has focused its effort on vaccinating the most at-risk communities and older people, with Mayor Lori Lightfoot even dubbing March “Senior Month.”

Officials have said it’s key to prioritize older people for these appointments since they’re the population most at risk from severe illness and death from COVID-19.

How To Get An Appointment At The United Center

Starting 8:30 a.m. Thursday, people 65 and older can go online to Zocdoc or call 312-746-4835 or schedule an appointment.

Appointments will open to other eligible people 4 p.m. Sunday. Those people can also use Zocdoc or call 312-746-4835 to make appointments.

When Do Appointments Open?

Appointments open 8:30 a.m. Thursday for people 65 and older.

If any appointment slots are left over, appointments will open 4 p.m. Sunday for other eligible people.

There will be 110,000 appointment openings to start with. Future appointments will be available in several weeks.

Who Is Eligible To Be Vaccinated?

Any Illinoisan who is eligible for vaccinations can get a shot at the United Center, though priority for appointments will be given to people 65 and older.

If any appointment slots are left over, appointments will open 4 p.m. Sunday for other eligible people.

Here is who is eligible:

  • People 65 and older.
  • People with underlying health conditions:
    • Cancer.
    • Chronic kidney disease.
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, known as COPD.
    • Diabetes.
    • Heart conditions.
    • Immunocompromised state from a solid organ transplant.
    • Smoking.
    • Obesity.
    • Pregnancy.
    • Pulmonary diseases.
    • Sickle cell disease.
  • Frontline essential workers:
    • Correctional workers.
    • First responders.
    • Grocery store workers.
    • People working in manufacturing/factory settings with outbreaks.
    • Day care, K-12 and early education workers.
    • Public transit workers.
    • Other manufacturing workers.
    • Agriculture workers.
    • Continuity of government and postal workers.
  • People from Phase 1A, including health care workers.

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

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