The Chicago Department of Public Health is trying to make it easier for residents to find and book appointments to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations in Chicago, announcing today a new partnership with a platform called Zocdoc. Chicagoans will now be able to use the Zocdoc Vaccine Scheduler to confirm that they are eligible to receive the vaccine and track down an available appointment at one of the city's mass vaccination sites or local care organizations such as AMITA Health, Erie Family Health, Innovative Express Care and Rush University Medical Center.
The tool is being provided to the city and public free of charge in response to feedback from locals, who have generally found the process to be confusing and time-consuming. To use the Zocdoc Vaccine Scheduler, residents will first need to confirm their location and their eligibility to receive the vaccine under the current phase (Chicago is in Phase 1B at the moment). Once that information is provided, Zocdoc will present a list of available appointments and allow users to book a date, time and location. CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady noted that vaccine supplies are still limited, so appointments are likely to be scarce.
Dr. Arwady also mentioned that they're trusting Chicagoans to not jump the line for a vaccine and determine their own eligibility based on the current phase of Chicago's vaccination distribution plan. Under Phase 1B (which began on January 25), the following individuals are currently eligible:
- All Chicagoans age 65 and older
- Chicagoans in non-healthcare residential settings (i.e. homeless shelters, correctional settings, other residential settings with local outbreaks)
- Frontline essential workers (i.e. correctional workers, first responders, grocery store workers, manufacturing/factory workers, daycare workers, K-12 and early education workers, public transit workers, continuity of government workers and Postal Service employees)
- All healthcare workers
In addition to announcing the Zocdoc partnership, Dr. Arwady also outlined Chicago's progress in reducing COVID cases. As of February 2, the city's caseload is similar to what it was back in October, with fewer of 600 new cases per day and 5.6 percent test positivity. It's a positive sign, even as restaurants have reopened with limited indoor dining and cultural institutions have welcomed back visitors at limited capacity in recent weeks.
As of February 2, more than 238,000 doses of vaccine have been administered in Chicago, which translates to about 1 in 18 Chicago residents who have received at least one dose. While these numbers are encouraging, Arwady warned that there's a long way to go as Chicago moves through Phase 1B of its vaccination plan. The city is using its limited supplies of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to give about 5,700 shots per day, with more than 700,000 Chicagoans eligible under the latest phase of the vaccination plan.
If you're eligible to receive the vaccine, using Zocdoc is worth a try—though there's no guarantee that you'll be able to find an open appointment. If you're having trouble locking something in, it's worth contacting your healthcare provider to inquire about vaccine availability.
If you still have questions about how to get a vaccine, we've put together an explainer with the latest information on Chicago's COVID vaccination efforts. Whether you've been vaccinated or not, don't forget to keep wearing your mask and distancing from others—we still have a long way to go.
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