Vaccines on the go: Chicago health department brings Covid shots into communities

Medical Watch

The Chicago Department of Public Health is now delivering doses to neighborhoods across the city.
The “vaccines on the go” arrive by bus or van that have the COVID-19 shots stocked on board. What was once nearly impossible to find is now in surplus and on the streets.

Ruben Olivares is part of the rapid response team at the Northside Housing Center.

“Everyone wanted it at first and they would do anything to get it,” he said. “Now when we try to register people there’s always that excuse, “’Oh I can’t because of work.’ And programs like this one there is no excuse. You can go right after work now and get vaccinated. The city is making it pretty easy for us to do it.”

Repurposed buses are part of the mobile fleet that are stocked with doses of Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer Covid vaccines, They are parked across the city. No reservation required.

Tamara Mahal is chief vaccine operations officer for the city of Chicago.

“There are a lot of people who still want to be vaccinated. but they need convenience,” she said. “And so between the vaccination stations, our buses as well as the vans … that go out to other mobile events – our intention is to be able to get out into the community and offer vaccine where people live, work or play in order to get them their shot right there”

We intend to do this through the summer, hopefully using our mobile assets into the fall if necessary. But we’re really here to address the demand. So as long as we’re still finding people that need to be vaccinated, we are going to be out and supporting it.

Tamara Mahal, chief vaccine operations officer

The mobile units have already distributed nearly 8000 vaccine doses since April.

Anyone age 12 and older can get vaccinated. All events can be found by visiting Once you are on the page, scroll down to the “Vaccination Events Near You” section and here you can fill out a vaccination event interest form.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines in Chicago, visit

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