Chicago residents older than 16 can simply show up at one of the city’s mass COVID-19 vaccination sites starting Friday and get inoculated — no appointment necessary, Chicago’s top doctor announced Thursday.
It’s possible because, for first time since vaccine doses started to be administered in Chicago on Dec. 15, there is enough demand to meet supply, said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady.
“If you want a vaccine in Chicago, you can absolutely get one,” Arwady said during an online question-and-answer session. “You can get one today. No excuses.”
That represented a marked change for Arwady, who spent the last four months pleading with Chicagoans to be patient until they became eligible for the vaccine and could find an appointment.
Appointments are available at zocdoc.com/vaccine and can be scheduled by calling 312-746-4835, Arwady said.
In addition, 16- and 17-year-old Chicagoans can now be vaccinated at the city’s sites, including the one near Wrigley Field, at the United Center and at Chicago State University. They need to get the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only one approved for use for those ages, and need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian, Arwady said.
“The only way we can stop this pandemic and get back to the things we love is for all Chicagoans to step up and get vaccinated,” Arwady said in a statement.
All Chicagoans became eligible for the vaccine on Monday.
The expansion of vaccine eligibility to everyone older than 16 has been complicated by the decision by the Chicago 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 an announcement is expected Friday, Arwady said.
Cook County mass vaccination sites in Tinley Park and Matteson will accept walk-in appointments through Saturday, officials announced Wednesday.
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.