COVID-19 VACCINE INFORMATION

UPDATES

White House & State of Illinois to Open New Major Community Vaccination Center at the United Center 

The new CVC, located at the United Center, will have the capacity to administer 6,000 shots per day starting March 10th. Utilizing primarily federal staff, The White House is deploying teams immediately to work hand-in-hand with State and local jurisdictions in distributing vaccines in addition to Illinois & Chicago’s already existing vaccine allowances. The United Center was chosen as a strategic initiative to increase vaccine accessibility to all Chicagoans due to its exceptional location and access to public transportation. The United Center is accessible via the CTA Blue Line Illinois Medical District stop, the Green/Pink line Ashland stop, and a number of local bus routes (#20 Madison, #50 Damen, and #9 Ashland).  

Beginning Thursday, March 4 at 8:30 a.m., Illinois seniors can schedule their first COVID-19 vaccine appointment at the United Center vaccine site, which will begin to administer a limited number of vaccines on March 9, with a full opening March 10. Following this exclusive appointment period for seniors, all Illinoisans eligible under the state’s Phase 1B+ will be able to schedule appointments on Sunday, March 7 at 4 p.m. Appointments can be made at Zocdoc.com/vaccine or by calling (312) 746-4835 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Walgreen & CVS Release Phone Numbers to Increase Accessibility arround Vaccine Appointments  

To make appointments at Walgreens dial 1-800-Walgreens and 800-746-7287 for CVS. 

Drugmaker Merck to Partner with Johnson & Johnson to Increase Vaccine Production 

Today nearly 3.9 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Johnson & Johnson began distribution to states, territories, and tribes by population. The partnership with Merck is projected to help reach the goal of 100 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines delivered to communities by June.

Expanded Vaccine Qualifications in Illinois

On February 25, local Illinois health departments expanded vaccine eligibility to all individuals over the age of 16 with high-risk medical conditions and those with disabilities. Chicago and Cook County will not be expanding eligibility at that time due to limited vaccine supply. For local health departments that expand eligibility, the high-risk medical conditions included in this expansion are cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), diabetes, heart condition, immunocompromised state from a solid organ transplant, obesity, pregnancy, pulmonary disease, and sickle cell disease. 

Special Enrollment Period for Affordable Care Act  

If you need health insurance, want to check your eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP, or are considering switching health plans, go to healthcare.gov to enroll by May 15.  

Coronavirus Q&A with Evanston Mayor Hagerty Thursday, March 4 at 1 pm to learn about COVID Vaccine initiatives and resources in Evanston. 

Vaccine distribution is increasing. The vaccination administration rate nationally is 1.7 million doses per day up from 1.1 million per day four weeks ago. This week, the CDC sent 13.5 million vaccine doses throughout the country – a 57% increase in vaccine allocations in four weeks. Vaccines are now being allotted to the retail pharmacy program and sent to community health centers and mobile vaccination clinics. As of February 18, 57.7 million vaccines have been administered in the U.S.

Although COVID-19 cases have been declining for five weeks, there are still more cases than at last summer’s peak. Continuing to wear masks and practicing social distancing are essential to keep cases in decline. CDC does not recommend N95 respirators for the general public for scientific and practicality reasons. For further details on best masking practices, visit this website.

SCAM WARNING: If you receive a call, text, or email saying that you can pay to receive early access to a COVID-19 vaccine or can pay to have a vaccine shipped to your home, DO NOT give your information to these individuals. The COVID-19 vaccine is free. These scammers may say they are from the World Health Organization, the CDC, or a government official’s office. More details can be found here.

Governor Pritzker announced that local health departments can expand vaccine eligibility to all individuals over the age of 16 with high-risk medical conditions and those with disabilities. Although, this is expected to happen on February 25, Chicago and Cook County will not be expanding eligibility at that time due to limited vaccine supply. For local health departments that expand eligibility, the high-risk medical conditions included in this expansion are cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), diabetes, heart condition, immunocompromised state from a solid organ transplant, obesity, pregnancy, pulmonary disease, and sickle cell disease.

HOW TO TRACK COVID AND VACCINE NUMBERS

Vaccines Shipped Per Week Tracker (Chicago and Illinois are listed separately):

Pfizer vaccine weekly shipment numbers can be found here.  

Moderna vaccine weekly shipment numbers can be found here.

Chicago vaccine numbers can be found here.      

Cook County vaccine numbers can be found at this website. Scroll down the page to the Select County search bar and click on Cook to find the breakdown of data at the county level.

Illinois statewide vaccine numbers can be found on this website.  This will be updated daily and will provide the most up-to-date numbers for the state.  Breakdown of vaccine eligibility by profession, etc. can be found here for Phase 1A and here for Phase 1B. 

COVID-19 cases: CDC COVID Tracker is a useful tool for finding national, state, and county level data. Please note: this tracker may lag behind the IDPH website. The CDC website allows for state-by-state comparison (up to six state simultaneously) of COVID statistics.

FOR INDIVIDUALS NOW ELIGIBLE FOR THE VACCINE

Eligibility defined by State of Illinois HERE

Your healthcare clinic may be giving vaccines and contacting patients directly to schedule appointments. You may also reach out to your healthcare provider about vaccine eligibility and appointment scheduling.

UI Health is scheduling vaccination appointments for all Chicagoans age 65+ and frontline essential workers, including first responders, pre-K–12 education workers, childcare workers, grocery store employees, and postal service workers. To schedule, go to this website or call 833.53.MYVAX (833-536-9829) Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm.

Erie Family Health has COVID-19 vaccine appointments available for current Erie patients who are age 65 and older, healthcare workers, or frontline essential workers. If you meet these requirements, call 312-666-3494, Option 5, to schedule an appointment.

If you are an essential worker, ask your employer if there will be a vaccination event for employees. Not all employers are doing this, but some are. 

CHICAGO: Visit this website to find nearby vaccination locations and appointment availability. Appointments can be booked online, and, if no appointments are available, residents can sign up for notifications for when new appointments do become available. Embedded translation support is available for more than 100 languages, including Spanish. No phone number is available yet. Please note that vaccine supply is still VERY LIMITED, and, therefore, there are very few appointments at this time. A list of other options for getting vaccinated (such as reaching out to your healthcare provider) can be found at this website. Two additional pharmacies available to Chicago residents beyond the five listed below include Chicago Costco Pharmacies at Lincoln Park and Chicago IL Medical District locations. 

COOK COUNTY:  For suburban residents in 1A and 1B to register for the vaccine, go to this website or call the Hotline at 833-308-1988 Monday through Friday 7am-7pm CT. This does not apply to those in Evanston, Skokie, or Chicago. Details on who is eligible can be found here. To see if your organization may be eligible for on-site vaccination, fill out this form.

EVANSTON: Complete the City’s Vaccination Interest Form here (español), and the City will notify you when the vaccine is available. Please complete this form for each member of your household. The City is currently distributing the vaccines it receives in Phase 1B as follows:

  • Individuals 72 years and older beginning the week of Feb. 22
  • Residents of congregate care and shelter facilities
  • Evanston teachers and daycare workers, beginning with the oldest individuals in this group who are participating in in-person learning and activities

For those 65 and older, you will be contacted when it is your turn for the vaccine. The City is working backwards by age to distribute the vaccine. For more details on the sign-up process, how you will be contacted when it is your turn to be vaccinated, and who is eligible, please visit this website.

For home-bound residents 65 years or older: please complete this form so the City can coordinate an in-home vaccination. This form can be filled out on someone’s behalf.

SKOKIE: Residents must sign up through pre-registration here. When vaccines become available, individuals will be notified of how to book appointments. Details on the registration process can be found here.

Links & phone numbers (where available) to other places to sign up for the vaccine (note that these may not be at convenient locations):

Walgreens (1-800-Walgreens) 

Walmart

CVS (800-746-7287) 

Jewel-Osco

Mariano’s

* Although some people have received a vaccine at a pharmacy at end-of-day, they have struggled to get their second dose because the vaccine system does not allow them to schedule their second dose. AT THIS TIME, it is best to wait until your phase of roll out before getting vaccinated to ensure a timely second dose.

FOR vaccine sign up updates For those NOT YET ELIGIBLE for a Vaccine

 

CITY OF CHICAGO RESIDENTS can sign up for Chi COVID Coach. This system is now being used to alert residents when they are eligible to register for a vaccine. An explanation of who is eligible and how to sign up for a vaccine is available here. Please note that at this time Chicago does not expect to begin vaccinating those age 16-64 with underlying medical conditions until late March. Those under 65 without underlying medical conditions will likely not be eligible for vaccines until May 31st.

SUBURBAN COOK COUNTY RESIDENTS can sign up to receive notification when they are eligible for a vaccine through this website or by calling the Hotline at 833-308-1988 Monday through Friday 7am-7pm CT.

EVANSTON RESIDENTS can pre-register for a vaccine here (español). Completing this form will allow the City to notify you when the vaccine is available to you. Please complete this form for each member of your household. For updates, go to the City’s weekly eNewsletter (subscribe here), website, and social media channels.

SKOKIE RESIDENTS can pre-register here. Find additional updates on vaccine eligibility and distribution on this website.

BROADER ILLINOIS STATE RESIDENTS can find a vaccination site and links to check eligibility and potentially sign up for the vaccine here.

OTHER UPDATES

The federal government is investing in $1.6 billion in testing. Funds will help address shortage of critical supplies and raw materials, including pipette tips,  specialized paper used in antigen tests, and specialized molded plastic needed to house testing reagents. Funds will also help with testing needed to reopen schools, assist underserved populations, and increase genomic sequencing up to 25,000 samples per week.

The federal government has deployed 700+ personnel and funded 1,200 National Guard members as vaccinators and has activated 1000+ military personnel and deployed 1000 additional federal personnel to support community vaccination sites.

A study from Israel found that breakthrough infections – vaccinated individuals who became COVID positive – had much lower viral loads than individuals who were COVID positive but had not been vaccinated. This bodes well.

This week, the federal government began distributing vaccines doses through a new vaccine program with federally qualified health centers (community health centers). In the initial phase, 250 community health centers will receive a total of 500,000 first doses and 500,000 second doses. Eventually, all 1,400 community health centers will be able to receive vaccines.