CHICAGO — Everyone in Illinois who is 16 or older can try to get vaccinated as of Monday.
Every county in the state has opened vaccine eligibility to everyone who is at least 16 as more doses have become available — and as cases are again rising, with the wave attributed to new, more contagious variants of COVID-19.
“We’re at a point where the [coronavirus] variants are rising,” Gov. JB Pritzker said at a news conference last week. “They’re coming at the population so fast at every age. … We now need to get as many shots into arms as quickly as we possibly can. … Right now, we just want people to show up and get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
RELATED: Here’s How You Can Get Vaccinated Against Coronavirus In Chicago
But there will still not be enough vaccine doses to meet the enormous demand for some time. Officials have urged people to be patient and keep trying to get their shot, as more appointments will open as the federal government sends more doses.
Pritzker said the state is expecting 150,000 first doses of vaccine next week from the federal government to arrive in suburban Cook County and the collar counties. These shots will be available at the state’s mass vaccination sites, as well as pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS and Jewel-Osco.
In Chicago, widespread vaccine eligibility is coming next week — but Pritzker said Chicagoans who are eligible under the state’s guidelines can head to the suburbs now for shots at state-run sites.
The vaccinations — provided for free, regardless of a person’s insurance — are the best hope for ending the COVID-19 pandemic, officials have said.
Across Illinois, an average of 126,827 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 7,178,611 vaccine doses of the 9,001,105 provided to them.
City data shows 1,472,715 doses of vaccine have been administered to Chicagoans in the city, and 1,651,565 doses have been administered in the city overall.
At the same time, cases of coronavirus are surging in Chicago and across Illinois. The city is seeing nearly 600 new cases per day, and its positivity rate has risen to 5.1 percent — a sign the virus is spreading unchecked.
How To Get Vaccinated
The city’s health department says you should first contact your primary care provider or a health clinic or hospital where you’ve received care in the past. You can check their website or contact them for information on vaccinations and setting up an appointment if they’re vaccinating people.
The city has also instructed hospitals and other providers to directly contact existing patients who are eligible for vaccines and offer them appointments. Providers are supposed to first offer appointments people most at risk — namely, patients who are oldest and have underlying medical conditions.
Select pharmacies are offering COVID-19 vaccinations to eligible people, though appointment slots fill up quick.
Here’s where you can try to make an appointment online:
Note: CVS is not offering vaccinations to the general public at its pharmacies in Illinois.
Various vaccine hunting groups have sprung up on social media to help people find an appointment. The Chicago Vaccine Hunters group on Facebook is widely used.
The ILVaccine website also searches providers to show you if any appointments are open near you.
The city’s health department will work with large employers to offer vaccinations through their workplaces.
People who will be vaccinated through their workplace do not need to take action, according to the city health department.
Zocdoc lists publicly available appointments from the city’s vaccinations sites, as well as from local organizations like AMITA Health, Erie Family Health and Innovative Express Care
Not all vaccine providers in Chicago are listing their open appointments on the scheduling tool. But more providers are expected to join, according to the city.
People can sign up online for open appointments through Zocdoc. The tool will check if you are eligible to be vaccinated. If you are, it will show nearby vaccination locations and open appointments. People can then make an appointment.
You can use the Zocdoc tool by clicking here.
Mass Vaccination Sites
- The city’s mass vaccination sites are not open to the public for appointments.
- Cook County does have vaccination sites that are accepting appointments so long as you are eligible and you live and/or work in Cook County. Appointments fill up fast. You can register with the county here or call 833-308-1988 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday to make an appointment and/or to get updates.
People who are homebound for various reasons can sign up online to get vaccinated against coronavirus at their home. Their caregivers will also be vaccinated under the program. The program is expected to take several months to complete.
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.
Already subscribe? Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation.