Chicago launching online portal for COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Coronavirus
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CHICAGO — The City of Chicago is launching a new online portal for residents to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at city-run sites and select healthcare providers Tuesday.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the city is partnering with the company Zocdoc to launch a website where residents can find and schedule vaccination appointments at government-run sites and several other vaccine providers.

“As vaccines become more available we’ll be able to use this platform to make it easier for Chicagoans to access publicly available appointments,” Arwady said.

Users can visit zocdoc.com/vaccine, where they’ll confirm their location and eligibility. If eligible under Illinois guidelines, Zocdoc will show nearby vaccination locations and their real-time appointment availability. Users can also sign up for email alerts about increases in availability.

As the vaccine rollout has opened up to more people, complaints have been constant from many trying around the clock to get an appointment with no luck. Officials are working to streamline the vaccination process across the state, but appointments are still hard to find.

City-run vaccination sites have been mostly serving healthcare workers since they first opened, but will increasingly be used to vaccinate residents as the city receives more doses. This week, the city only received enough to vaccinate about 5,700 people a day.

“That experience is obviously frustrating for people…but it also rewards those with the most time and resources; it’s not the fairest way to do this,” said Richard Fine, VP of Strategy at Zocdoc.

After Arwady and Fine announced the portal on Tuesday night, it didn’t take long before available appointments were gone. Arwady says that’s to be expected.

“As I said, as we receive more vaccines, we can make more appointments available. It doesn’t surprise me at all that March is only available because many appointments are already booked and filled with frontline workers et cetera,” Arwady said.

She urged residents to register their emails on the Zocdoc website to receive updates on availability,

“All of our covid indicators continue to trend in the right direction even with some of the limited reopening we’ve been able to do in the last few weeks,” Arwady said.

Appointments made with a local healthcare provider or pharmacy will not be included in the portal, as they will still need to be made directly with them.

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