Local, state, and national leaders announce United Center vaccination site

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Information provided by the Governor’s Office

CHICAGO, Ill. (February 26, 2021) – The Biden Administration, Governor JB Pritzker, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth on Friday announced eligible Illinoisans from every part of the state will be able to be vaccinated starting March 10 at a new United Center site that prioritizes access for seniors and equity for the hardest hit populations.

The Biden Administration is opening pilot Community Vaccination Centers across the country. The United Center site will open on March 10 with the capacity to administer 6,000 doses per day, all of which will be provided directly by the federal government and not taken out of the state or city’s allotment.

Priority given to seniors

The site will be by appointment only. Seniors will have first access to appointments before the site opens, and if appointments remain available after seniors have had their exclusive registration period, any remaining available slots will be open to any Illinoisans eligible under the state’s guidelines. After the launch on March 10, registration will continue to be open for all Illinoisans eligible in the state’s Phase 1B+.

On Thursday, February 25, all regions in Illinois, with the exception of Cook County, moved to Phase 1B+ of the state’s vaccination plan, which allows individuals age 16 or older with disabilities or underlying conditions to be vaccinated. Cook County officials weeks ago decided against keeping in step with the state’s expansion, saying the county rates for vaccination were too low to justify such an expansion. However, even though the United Center is in Cook County, the vaccination site will be open to individuals in IL’s 1B+ eligibility designation.

No registration available yet

Preparations and buildout of the United Center Community Vaccination Center are now underway. Information about where and how to make appointments will be available in coming days. Demand is anticipated to be high.

Officials in a Friday press conference said vaccinations would take place in Parking Lot E of the United Center, and although hours have not yet been officially set, they will likely be from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

A federal site for everyone

The United Center will be open to all Illinois residents currently eligible to be vaccinated under the state guidelines and will be managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency with support from the Department of Defense, State of Illinois, Cook County, and the City of Chicago.

The United Center site builds on an expanding network of state-supported sites operating across southern, central and northern Illinois. The United Center is located near medically underserved communities, and the state has set goals of reaching those most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.

“The United Center is one of the best locations for vaccinating large numbers of people in America: it’s easy to get to, is in the midst of a medically underserved community, can handle large crowds and is well known to everyone in Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I am deeply grateful to the Biden-Harris administration for working closely with us to bring on this high-capacity site, and I’m particularly proud that we’ve worked together to prioritize seniors in this process, moving us that much closer to putting this pandemic to an end.”

This federal pilot site will not divert allocations from other jurisdictions, as vaccine will be provided direct by the federal government to the site. The site will operate seven days a week for eight weeks under the federal government’s vaccination pilot program.

Equity an important factor

The United Center was selected by the Biden administration in coordination with state, county, and city partners to fulfill the administration’s commitment to expanding the rate of vaccinations across the country in an efficient, effective and equitable manner, with a focus on making sure that communities with a high risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection are not left behind.

“Getting vaccine shots into the arms of Americans will help break the back of this pandemic,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). “This site in the City of Chicago, which Senator Duckworth and I have been working for, will help our most vulnerable communities get the protection they desperately need. I applaud Governor Pritzker, Cook County President Preckwinkle, and Mayor Lightfoot for working with us and the Biden Administration to make this site a reality. Help is on the way, Illinois.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the vaccination site represents an “SOS” moment, meaning “save our seniors.”

“The new United Center mass vaccination site is a game changer for Chicago and the entire region,” she said.

united center
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the United Center vaccination site a “game changer.”

In addition to the United Center, Illinois has 15 state-supported mass vaccination sites already open across the state. These sites are currently open to any eligible resident via appointment. For more information on how to make an appointment to receive the vaccine, updates on the state’s plan and eligibility, and answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, go to coronavirus.illinois.gov. Residents of Cook County looking to receive a vaccine should visit the county’s vaccine site or call the vaccine sign-up hotline at 833-308-1988.

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