Public vaccination site now available by appointment through Cook County portal

By Josh Bootsma

SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. (February 11, 2021) – As local residents were receiving shots of COVID-19 vaccine in the South Suburban College gym, local leaders and officials gathered in the corner of Cook County’s newest large-scale vaccination site to officially announce the location and thank the many people who made it possible.

Located near the northern entrance of the Athletic and Physical Fitness Center on the South Suburban Campus, the site marks the third such large-scale vaccination location in Cook County, following the Tinley Park Convention Center in Tinley Park and Triton College in River Grove.

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The line to receive a vaccine in the South Suburban College gym stretched outside at 1:15pm on Thursday. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

According to Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha Jr., an estimated 500 individuals were to be vaccinated Thursday, with an estimated 800 to be vaccinated every day in the future—assuming vaccine is in full supply.

Vaccine registration and availability

Illinois is currently in Phase 1B of the state’s vaccination plan, which allows for individuals 65 and older to receive vaccine as well as frontline essential workers such as first responders, educators, people in the manufacturing industry, corrections workers, postal service workers, public transit workers, and grocery store workers.

Vaccinations at South Suburban College are currently available only by appointment at vaccine.cookcountyil.gov or by calling the vaccine hotline at 833-308-1988 from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

An estimated 600,000 Cook County residents are currently eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Health officials are repeatedly reminding residents that the current vaccine supply is not adequate to vaccinate everyone at this time. As of Thursday, February 11, nearly 70,000 Cook County residents have been vaccinated.

Statewide, over 850 vaccination locations are now available to the eligible public, many within pharmacies like Walgreens and Jewel-Osco.

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Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha Jr. reiterated on Thursday that the vaccination process is a slow one that requires patience. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

“We are equally as frustrated as the community with the lack of vaccine that has been distributed. We are asking Cook County residents for their continued patience as we work to ramp up one of the largest county-operated vaccine programs in the country,” said Rocha.

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Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle confers with a National Guardsman before Thursday’s press conference. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Officials share appreciation, resolve

Elected officials and local leaders held a press conference on Thursday to officially announce the new vaccination site.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle spoke of the necessity of vaccination sites, especially in the south suburbs. “The need is great, especially in the southland where many of our brown and black neighbors have suffered disproportionally. I’m proud of the work being done to expand equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine for the residents of Cook County,” she said.

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Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

On Wednesday, Preckwinkle visited TF South High School to announce that the school is serving as an Educational Point of Distribution for COVID-19 vaccine. That means only staff from District 215, feeder schools, and schools in the Thornton Fractional Education Consortium may be vaccinated at that location. In contrast, the South Suburban College location is open to public appointments from eligible residents.

“I think this is awesome. This is the perfect marriage between the college and the county,” said South Suburban College President Dr. Lynette Stokes. “Based on what we’ve already done it makes sense. We’ve been a testing site since last summer, so for us to be a mass vaccination center—it makes sense. …We’re a community college, a college for the community.”

South Suburban College Board Chairman Frank Zuccarelli also spoke about the college’s commitment to its community, saying, “South Suburban College belongs to this community. And we’re going to work with you every single day. The reason we do well is because we do well with each other. We couldn’t do it without everybody.”

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“South Suburban College belongs to this community,” College Board Chairman Frank Zuccarelli said. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

“We’re committed to vaccinating as many Cook County residents as it takes to turn the page to the next chapter,” Preckwinkle said. “Every day we get closer and closer to putting our current chapter in the history books. Today, another page turns.”

Vaccination and testing site?

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Signage at South Suburban College directs drivers where to park for vaccinations and where to go for COVID-19 testing. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Since June of 2020, South Suburban College has served as a COVID-19 testing location, a community service that will continue as the college also adds vaccinations to its list of offerings. Printed signs clearly delineate which area is designated for vaccinations and which is for testing.

Stokes said the site is guaranteed to continue providing the testing service through May 1, 2021. The site began as a National Guard-run facility but has since transitioned to being run by a contracted organization.

South Suburban College is located at 15800 South State Street, South Holland, IL.

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1 COMMENT

  1. It seems that the current (as of 2/14/21) vaccine supply has been exhausted for the site at South Suburban College, and that when vaccine becomes available the Cook County Health Department will announce the availability of new appointments. Also, when new appointments become available, as alternative to using the Cook County Portal, vaccine.cookcountyil.gov , new appointments may be made by calling 833-308-1988. (As reported in the 2/14/21 edition of the Daily Southtown, in the Community News article “Large-scale vaccination site set for South Holland).

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