Where to get the Covid vaccine in Chicago
The CDC has a new vaccine finder tool here.
As expected there is confusion and chaos around the distribution of the vaccine. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issues guidance on who can get the vaccine but that doesn’t matter because no one seems to have it. There appear to be four phases of distribution. 1a, 1b, 1c and 2. We are currently in Phase 1b but they are taking people 65 and older. Phase 1b is supposed to be 75 and older, plus others (see below).
2/11/2021 update: Expansion of Phase 1B Eligibility on February 25, 2021 Phase 1B Eligibility Will Expand to Individuals With Comorbidities and Underlying Conditions; Will Prioritize Those with Disabilities. Per the media Chicago and Cook County do not have enough vaccine to expand eligibility so this will only apply to areas outside of Cook County.
This list is subject to change as guidance evolves and does not reflect an order of priority: Cancer, Chronic Kidney Disease, COPD (Chronic Obstructive, Pulmonary Disease), Diabetes, Heart Condition, Immunocompromised State from a Solid Organ Transplant, Obesity, Pregnancy, Pulmonary Disease, Sickle Cell Disease.
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Where to get the Covid vaccine in Chicago
Until a week ago the only people I knew who were vaccinated live in Wisconsin, Florida, Indiana and Georgia. Finally someone I know who lives in Chicago got it! A person I used to work with, who is retired, was able to get the vaccine on February 2. Beginning on January 25 her and her husband (also retired) spent hours each day from when they woke up until past midnight searching for vaccine. They registered and searched Cook County Department of Public Health, Walgreens and Jewel stores. Essentially what happens on some sites is you fill out a form and when you get to the end they tell you there are no appointments. Then you have to start all over again.
On January 31 her husband was contacted by Cook County (where they were registered) via text that he could get the shot at the Tinley Park Convention Center. When you are contacted you need to respond immediately because all the appointments fill up quickly. They live near Park Ridge and have a car.
She was never contacted but she went with him anyway hoping that she could get it as a walk-in, which she was able to do. There is absolutely no guarantee that that will work every time. A former employer, who now lives in Florida, also brought his wife with to his vaccination appointment and she was able to get it.
Anyway back to Tinley Park. The site is run by the Illinois National Guard and is extremely organized. When you get there they will ask for your bar code. They never received an email but they still had the text and the link to the bar code is in the text! I’m not sure what people without smart phones are supposed to do. When they were done they scheduled their second appointment which has to be at the same location. Tinley Park has the Moderna vaccine. She had a terrible headache for a day and her arm was still sore a couple days later. You may want to get the shot in your non-dominant arm.
Where to get the Covid vaccine in Chicago – Register everywhere
One of my neighbors is also trying to get the vaccine. She has been searching all Walgreens and CVS’ in a 15 mile radius and none of them have it. Another neighbor who temporarily decamped to an Age+55 rental community in the burbs was able to get it when their community arranged it. Someone said they heard someone got it through Advocate Lutheran General in Park Ridge. A friend’s mother (a resident of Lake County, IL) lucked out and got a slot at the Grayslake Fairgrounds. Another friend I know (a retired veteran) had his son search for two weeks until he found a vaccine at the VA Hospital in North Chicago. The long and the short of it is – Register everywhere – and then it’s the luck of the draw!
ZocDoc: This is a new place to register. However it’s limited to the following City of Chicago locations only. When I ran a test there were “No upcoming appointments available” at any location. You are able to sign up to get an email when appointments become available. The second you get that email you have to respond immediately. This site is supposed to include more locations in the future.
Rush University Medical Center, COVID-19 Vaccination Facility 1650 W Harrison St Chicago IL 60612
Malcolm X College, COVID-19 Vaccination Facility, 1900 W Jackson Blvd Chicago IL 60612
Innovative Express Care – Diversey, COVID-19 Vaccination Facility, 1111 W Diversey Pkwy Chicago IL 60614
Richard J. Daley College, COVID-19 Vaccination Facility, 7500 S Pulaski Rd Chicago IL 60652
Wilbur Wright College, COVID-19 Vaccination Facility, 4300 N Narragansett Ave Chicago IL 60634
Arturo Velasquez Institute, COVID-19 Vaccination Facility, 2800 S Western Ave Chicago IL 60608
Kennedy-King College, COVID-19 Vaccination Facility, 6301 S Halsted St Chicago IL 60621
Olive-Harvey College, COVID-19 Vaccination Facility, 10001 S Woodlawn Ave Chicago IL 60628
Harry S Truman College, COVID-19 Vaccination Facility, 1145 W Wilson Ave Chicago IL 60640
City of Chicago: Use ZocDoc to register
Protect Chicago Plus: Residents of certain neighborhoods may have access to the vaccine ahead of other neighborhoods. The neighborhoods included are: West Englewood, New City, Gage Park, North Lawndale, South Lawndale, Chicago Lawn, Englewood, Roseland, Archer Heights, Washington Heights, Austin, Montclare, South Deering, Belmont Cragin and Humboldt Park.
Cook County Department of Public Health: Register through link or call the Vaccine Sign-Up Hotline: 833-308-1988 M-F 7am-7pm CT. I called the number several times and it was busy.
Cook County sites
Tinley Park Convention Center – 18451 Convention Center Drive, Tinley Park, IL 60477
Triton College – 2000 5th Ave Building T, River Grove , IL 60171
Arlington Heights Health Center – 3250 N Arlington Heights Rd, Arlington Heights, IL 60004
Austin Health Center – 4800 West Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60651
Blue Island Health Center – 12757 S Western Ave, Blue Island, IL 60406
CORE Center – 2020 West Harrison Street, Chicago, IL 60612
Cottage Grove Health Center – 1645 Cottage Grove Ave, Ford Heights, IL 60411
Dr. Jorge Prieto Health Center – 2424 South Pulaski Road, Chicago, IL 60623
Englewood Health Center – 1135 W. 69th St., Chicago, IL 60621
Logan Square Health Center – 2840 West Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Morton East Health Center – 2423 S Austin Blvd, Cicero, IL 60804
North Riverside Health Center – 1800 S Harlem Ave, North Riverside, IL 60546
Provident Hospital of Cook County – 500 East 51st Street, Chicago, IL 60615
Cook County partner sites
Epic Urgent Care, 770 E Dundee Rd, Palatine, IL 60074, (708) 733-7750
Family Christian Health Center, 31 W 155th Street, Harvey, IL 60426, (708) 271-8777
Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, 701 W North Ave, Melrose Park, IL 60160
Loyola University Medical Center, 2160 S 1st Ave, Maywood, IL 60153
MacNeal Hospital, 3249 S Oak Park Ave, Berwyn, IL 60402
Oak Street Health Berwyn, 7000 Cermak Rd, Berwyn, IL 60402
Oak Street Health Lincoln Crossing, 1401 Western Ave, Chicago Heights, IL 60411
PCC South, 6201 Roosevelt Rd, Berwyn, IL 60402 (708) 386-0845
State of Illinois: Read this post
Costco: The COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available at Costco Pharmacy in Illinois.
CVS: The COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available at CVS Pharmacy in Illinois. Update 2/5/21: Per the Chicago Tribune 80k doses are being redirected to CVS pharmacies in Downstate Illinois.
Jewel Osco: According to the State of IL there are 92 locations administering the vaccine in Illinois. The only Jewel’s in a 50 mile radius of downtown that come up are 370 N. DesPlaines and 4032 W. Foster. They had no appointments.
Mariano’s: According to the State of IL there are 6 locations administering the vaccine in Illinois. Mariano’s website shows 18 in the city and suburbs that offer it. They had no appointments.
Walgreens: According to the State of IL there are 170 locations administering the vaccine in Illinois. See the State of Illinois website to search for Walgreens by zip code. Each Walgreens has a unique website to register. However the first three links I tried got an error message. You can go here. Also you’ll need to be signed into your Walgreens.com account. If you don’t have one you’ll need to sign up. You should, they have good deals! I wasn’t able to go through the process because I’m not eligible. My understanding is you fill out a form and when you get to the end they tell you there are no appointments. Then you have to start all over again.
Walmart: According to the State of IL there are 8 locations administering the vaccine in Illinois. They’re all in Chicago including Neighborhood Market 2844 N Broadway and Neighborhood Market, 2551 W Cermak Rd.
Advocate Healthcare: They are vaccinating their most vulnerable patients based on CDC guidelines. If you’re a patient, they will contact you to schedule.
Amita Health: Not currently vaccinating patients at its hospitals
Edward-Elmhurst Hospital: They are vaccinating their most vulnerable patients based on CDC guidelines. If you’re a patient, they will contact you to schedule.
NorthShore University HealthSystem-Metro Chicago: They are vaccinating current patients age 65+ and directly contacting eligible patients.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital: I saw the head of Gerontology on Chicago Tonight a couple days say that they are calling patients. They are starting with their oldest and sickest patients. You must have a primary care physician through Northwestern who you have seen in the last 18 months. No new patients. Rumor has it that NMH has the Pfizer vaccine.
Oak Street Health: Current patients and all other eligible persons can book an appointment.
Rush University Medical Center: Rush is a partner of IDPH so anyone eligible can schedule an appointment. There were no appointments available.
St. Joseph’s Hospital: They will take current patients when they get the vaccine.
UChicago Medicine: When they are able to vaccinate patients, vaccines will be offered to a limited number of eligible patients through a lottery. Lottery enrollment is automatic.
University of Illinois Medicine: Anyone eligible can get the vaccine there. “ALL AVAILABLE VACCINE APPOINTMENTS ARE FILLED. We apologize for any inconvenience. We have currently met our scheduling capacity for available vaccine. Please continue to check back to this page for updates on scheduling availability.”
Plan of attack
I’m not eligible yet but when I am I plan to do the following. Contact my Primary Care Physician, register at every site I can and probably check all of the above locations a few times a day until I get an appointment. I am limited on where I will go because I don’t have a car. However I’m not high risk and even if you get the vaccine tomorrow you still can’t go anywhere. At this point almost no one has it and the virus is so rampant that even if fully vaccinated you still have to stay on lockdown. If I was older or high risk or both I would spend a part of every hour, every day trying to get an appointment day and I would take an appointment almost anywhere. I would just rent a car to get there. As it stands now I don’t anticipate being fully vaccinated until late fall or December.
Current status of vaccination in Chicago – Abysmal
I received an email from my Alderman on January 15 with the following map showing the abysmal vaccination rates in Chicago. When I started this post on January 15 just over 75,000 people had between one dose from December 15, 2020 and January 14, 2021. With a population of 2.5 million and with 60% of the population getting the vaccine times two shots – at 75k per month = it will take 3.33 years for everyone to get vaccinated. Obviously they’ll have to pick up the pace! I had a link to the City’s data but it’s dead now! Found it! As of February 3 52k had both shots and 170k had the first shot. That’s an average of 5500 per day or 164k a month so now were looking at 1.53 years to get everyone vaccinated.
Part of the problem is that Illinois’ distribution of the vaccine has been abysmal. Per the CDC Illinois has received 2,053,325 doses of vaccine but has only distributed 1,178,369 so 875,000 are somewhere. Not surprising in this poorly run state. Governor “No toilets” needs to pick up the pace on distribution!
There’s little vaccine available currently and chaos and confusion regarding distribution of what little there is. Stay locked down until your turn comes later this year. This situation isn’t unique to our poorly run state. A friend in a neighboring state, who is a healthcare professional, spent months preparing to vaccinate the masses has vaccinated exactly zero people as of February 4. They don’t have any vaccine either. As I find out anything new I will update this post. Be patient! Good luck!
Four phases of distribution
Phase 1a: On December 1, ACIP recommended that 1) health care personnel§ and 2) residents of long-term care facilities¶ be offered COVID-19 vaccination first, in Phase 1a of the vaccination program.
Phase 1b: On December 20, 2020, ACIP recommended that in Phase 1b, vaccine should be offered to persons aged ≥75 years and frontline essential workers (non–health care workers), Approximately 49 million persons, including frontline essential workers (non–health care workers) and persons aged ≥75 years are recommended to receive vaccine in Phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccination program (Table).
- There are two main categories in Phase 1b: Chicagoans who are 65+ and frontline essential workers, including first responders; grocery store workers and day care workers; early education and K-12 educators; workers in public transit, manufacturing, and agriculture; correctional officers and a limited number of government workers, including elected officials and postal service workers.
- Healthcare workers and long-term care facility workers and residents who were prioritized in group 1a remain eligible for vaccine in phase 1b and beyond.
Phase 1c: persons aged 65–74 years, persons aged 16–64 years with high-risk medical conditions, and essential workers not recommended for vaccination in Phase 1b should be offered vaccine.
Phase 2: all other persons aged ≥16 years not already recommended for vaccination in Phases 1a, 1b, or 1c. This is all remaining people.