CHICAGO (CBS) — With Chicago’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines exceeding demand for the first time during the pandemic, all city-operated vaccination sites will open to walk-ins starting on Friday.
During a question-and-answer session on Facebook on Thursday, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the city is finally receiving an ample supply of vaccines, after months of not being able to meet demand for shots.
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“Our supply has just not been up to our demand month after month after month, and I know how frustrating that has been for many people, but as of now, we have enough vaccine,” Arwady said. “If you want a vaccine in Chicago, you can absolutely get one. You can get one today. No excuses.”
As a result, starting Friday, every city-run vaccination site in Chicago, including the United Center mass vaccination site, will accept walk-ins in addition to scheduled appointments.
“We still encourage people to make an appointment. That’s going to be the best way. Go on zocdoc, or call the call center. If you make an appointment, you won’t need to be standing in long lines, you’ll know for sure you have an appointment,” she said. “But we know that a lot of people are still having challenges getting appointments, and we know there’s digital divides, and we know there’s people who maybe, spur of the moment, might say, ‘Let’s get a vaccine.’”
In addition, all city-run vaccination sites will be open anyone 16 and older, because all city clinics are currently offering the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only inoculation approved for 16- and 17-year-olds. Anyone under age 18 must have a parent or guardian with them to get a vaccination.
Appointments at city-run vaccination sites are available online at zocdoc.com/vaccine or by calling 312-746-4835.
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Arwady said the increase in vaccine supply comes as Chicago appears to be turning the corner on the latest surge, with the city’s test positivity rate now at 5.4%, down from 5.8% one week ago. The city is also averaging 631 new COVID-19 cases per day, down 13% from one week ago.
“Those case rates are still higher than we’d like them to be. Ideally, we want to get that back down under 400, and eventually back down under 200. We want to get that positivity back down under 5%, but continued progress in the right direction is what is going to let us move toward reopening … even more reopening,” Arwady said.
Cook County Health also has started offering walk-in vaccinations at two suburban mass vaccination sites, in Tinley Park and Matteson, as part of a pilot program that will operate through Saturday.
The Tinley Park mass vaccination site is administering the Moderna vaccine, which requires a second dose four weeks after your first. The Matteson mass vaccination site is giving out the Pfizer vaccine, which requires a second dose after three weeks.
Both sites are open for walk-in vaccinations from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. You’ll need a photo ID to register on-site.
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You can still make appointments for a vaccine at any suburban Cook County site online at vaccine.cookcountyil.gov or by calling 833-308-1988, Monday – Friday from 7AM – 10PM and Saturday from 8AM – 10PM.