Multiple resources, patience, persistence keys to getting vaccine appointment, patients say

Medical Watch

Who is getting the COVID-19 vaccine and how?

There is no easy way to get an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine for either yourself or for loved ones who are desperate for their shot. But WGN News’ Medical Watch team found dozens of people who qualified in the current phase 1B who got their slot. They said the key is looking to multiple resources – the county, city and your doctor. And be prepared to try and try again.

Recently in Chicago, cars stretched down Diversey Parkway in the line for Covid testing.

But for 65-year-old Vickie and 69-year-old Steve it took a lot of persistence and a little luck to get inside the Innovative Express Care on the city’s Northside for their vaccine.

“I signed up all over the place and finally I was able to get in,” Vicki said. “It’s time consuming, but you got to do what you got to do.”

The fridge isn’t as full of vaccines this week, but Dr Rahul Khare, the CEO of Innovative Express Care, said he expects to re-stock his vaccine supply by next week.

“We got 300 for employees initially and then the next week we got 5000,” he said. “And then last week we did not get any. And we’re hoping to get 10,000 to 12,000 next week, but we put in our request to the city. We’ll find out on Friday.”

Diane Jastromb received the vaccine recently but it took some work.

“I have been on Walgreen’s website for days trying. I’ll stay up ‘til midnight,” she said. “I’m trying to get on, I can’t get on, there are no available vaccines. I’ve been on CVS, Mariano’s – I’ve been to all the websites I can think of just to get an appointment to see if anything is available.”

Persistence paid off. After weeks of trying, Jastromb was finally able to roll up her sleeve for her first dose.

“You get discouraged because you keep looking and looking and there is nothing,” she said.

“We’re doing the best we can to prioritize these groups,” Khare said. “And the city is giving us the vaccines as they get them.”

Across town at Rush University Medical Center, they have seen a packed waiting rooms.

Philip Quick is Associate Vice President of Patient Access at Rush.

Right now, the clinic is filled with patients who receive their general care at the medical center. For 66-year-old Jastromb, it was an easy process – she got an alert on MyChart and made the appointment.

“Our vaccination clinic is four days a week right now,” he said. “And we are averaging about 1,000 vaccinations a day.”

“They are coming in weekly and the dose allocation is variable, so we submit a weekly request based upon our capacity,” Quick said. “And at the end of the week we get confirmation on what we will receive.”

For Alfredo Caraballo, a pastor at Christian Fellowship Flock South in the city’s Southeast Side, there’s an even greater meaning behind the opportunity to get the vaccine.

“For me, it’s a great day. Because in May I got Covid and I never want anybody to go through that again. And I never want to go through that again,” he said. “So that’s one of the reasons I want to get the shot. And encourage others to get it as well. Part of being a person of faith is also trusting in people. And in the medical profession.”

But right now it’s a matter of patience, just as it was in the early days of the pandemic when tests were in short supply. But more and more people are getting their shot at beating COVID-19.

Vaccination sign-up:

State website: coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/vaccination-location

Walgreens: walgreens.com/findcare/vaccination/covid-19

Jewel: mhealthappointments.com/covidappt

Click here for more information

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