Video: “Chicago Tonight” talks vaccine equity and hesitancy with Dr. Marina Del Rios, an emergency room physician and director of social emergency medicine at the University of Illinois hospital in Chicago. (Produced by Quinn Myers)
All Chicago residents older than age 16 are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, joining the rest of Illinois and the United States.
The expansion of vaccine eligibility to any Chicago adult regardless of their age, health or employment comes a week after Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered restrictions lifted on the state’s supply of vaccine from the federal government. Chicago gets a separate supply of vaccine doses directly from the federal government.
President Joe Biden announced the federal government would make all adults eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine no later than Monday.
Supplies of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine are still limited, and officials have said there may not immediately be enough doses for everyone who wants the COVID-19 vaccine.
The expansion of vaccine eligibility to everyone older than 16 has been complicated by the decision by the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Cook County Department of Public Health to stop administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while federal officials review data involving six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals who got the one-dose vaccine.
It is not clear when federal officials will complete that review, but it will last at least until Wednesday.
The pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine forced Chicago to switch from the one-dose vaccine at the Chicago State University mass vaccination site to the two-dose Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday.
In addition, Chicago officials began using the Pfizer vaccine to inoculate homebound Chicagoans on Friday, according to a statement from the Chicago Department of Public Health.
The city’s effort to vaccinate church members across the city will use the Pfizer vaccine.
Chicago Federation of Labor mass vaccination site will begin administering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines starting Monday, but will only have the capacity to administer 1,200 doses per week. Organizers had planned to administer 1,200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine per day.
The United Center mass vaccination site, which had planned to switch to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, will continue to offer Pfizer, and officials reopened appointments for the site on Friday.
However, events with the Illinois Restaurant Association are on hold until April 26, officials said.
The city’s mass vaccination site at O’Hare Airport that had administered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will not re-open, and those with appointments for that site will be rescheduled for appointments at Wright College or the United Center.
A joint effort by the Chicago Department of Public Health and the CTA to offer mobile vaccinations via a bus will remain on hiatus, officials said.
City officials announced Friday afternoon they would operate a vaccination clinic at Loretto Hospital starting on Tuesday for residents of the Austin neighborhood. The clinic will serve only Austin residents and will operate from noon to 6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, officials said.
Appointments for Austin residents are available online.
City officials stopped sending vaccine supplies to Loretto on March 18 after allegations that doses were diverted to friends of the hospital's administrators and powerful officials.
To make a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, call the state hotline 833-621-1284, which operates from 6 a.m.-midnight.
For information about suburban Cook County COVID-19 vaccinations, including how to register for an appointment, visit vaccine.cookcountyil.gov or call 833-308-1988, which operates 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday.
Information about Chicago vaccinations is available at chicago.gov/covidvax or by calling 312-746-4835.