CHICAGO – On Thursday, Gov. Pritzker explained the recent limitations added to the United Center vaccination site.
It comes after complaints, frustration and accusations that the rules were changed in the middle of the game.
The site is federal and not run by the state, a point Gov. Pritzker drove home.
“It’s not a state site, it’s a federal site. We’re very glad to have it. Let me be clear,” Pritzker said. “We get 6,000 doses a day.”
The United Center’s mass vaccination site was hailed at the largest in the state, run by FEMA. It was initially open to the public for anyone 16 and over with an underlying condition, but that soon changed.
“FEMA decided to change the rules,” Pritzker said. “FEMA decided that there wasn’t enough equity that was being achieved with the location at the United Center. They had hoped to get more Black and Brown people in to get shots so they changes some of the rules, locations and zip codes for people.”
As of Thursday, 60 percent of the United Center vaccine allotment will go to Chicago, while Cook County and the state will determine the rest.
Chicago’s doses will only go to people living in the five zip codes hit hardest by COVID-19; 60608, 60619, 60620, 60649 and 60652.
Residents from those zip codes can signup online by using the voucher code “CCVICHICAGO” or by calling 312-746-4835.
Guadalupe Martinez, 70, is from Brookfield and said she was able to find an appointment at the United Center after trying closer to home for weeks.
“They should have something like that where I live in the suburbs. We tried to go to Walgreens. No luck at all. No we couldn’t get it at Walgreens at all,” she said.
Carole Miller, from Wilmette, signed up before the zip code requirements changed.
The 79-year-old said her daughter called various pharmacies for days and eventually got an appointment at the United Center.
““I guess everybody’s in the same boat. They say, ‘well, we should get it because of this and this,'” said Miller.
That’s the basic ethical quandary; there are many people who want it than there are doses available, so authorities are trying to get the vaccine to people in the areas where the disease is most rampant.