United Center begins COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Coronavirus
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CHICAGO — The United Center began administering COVID-19 vaccines to Chicagoans on Tuesday.

The United Center, the state’s largest vaccination site, is one of 18 community vaccination sites that are part of the federal plan to bring the vaccine to hard hit and high risk communities. About 110,000 appointments were booked as of Tuesday, according to officials.

Officials said people should plan on spending around 45 minutes at the site. After receiving the shot, people will have to wait 30 minutes to make sure there are no adverse side effects to the vaccine.

On Monday, the new rules were put in place after less than 40% of the appointments made Sunday were procured by people not living in the city.  Now, only Chicago residents are eligible to book COVID-19 vaccination shots at the United Center.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke out Monday on the changes that were made for the vaccination site —saying she wants this location to help those in this community.

“We wanted to make sure that people who were most in need are getting the vaccine,” she said. “We opened up the process to people who were 65 and older. We’re now opening that up to people with underlying conditions but we wanted to also make sure that the United Center on the West Side is actually being utilized by people in the City of Chicago who also look like the surrounding area.”

The first shot was administered on Tuesday morning. The governor, the mayor and other officials attended the location to provide an update on vaccine distribution.

Moving forward, appointments under the state’s Phase 1B+ are limited to Chicagoans 65 and over, people with pre-existing health issues and essential workers.  

“We’ve made sure Illinois has been a leader in the administration of vaccinations,” Gov. JB Pritzker said.

Lightfoot tweeted Sunday that “equity has been the guiding light for the rollout.”

Appointments for the United Center will be posted on zocdoc.com/vaccine. However, it is unsure when more appointments will be made available.

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