Greater Chicago opens 1st COVID-19 mass vaccination site

The Cook County-based site will be staffed by the National Guard.

January 26, 2021, 12:30 PM

Illinois on Tuesday opened its first COVID-19 mass vaccination site at Tinley Park Convention Center in the Chicago suburbs, according to state officials.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the opening at a press conference Monday, during which Preckwinkle received the site's first vaccination. The site will be partially staffed by the National Guard and vaccinations will be by appointment only in order to avoid people showing up for a vaccine when there's not enough supply for everyone.

"While current vaccine supply does not meet the demand, we are standing up large-scale sites now to ensure we are ready as vaccine continues to be distributed to Cook County," Preckwinkle said.

Illinois moved into Phase 1B for vaccination, meaning essential front-line workers and people 65 years old or older are now eligible to get vaccinated, according to the governor.

Once the mass vaccination site is up and running and there's adequate vaccine supply, county officials say it will be able to vaccinate upward of 3,000 people each day, Chicago ABC station WLS reported. For now, the site is aiming to administer 9,000 vaccine each week.

Cook County plans to open five more sites in the Chicago suburbs as more vaccine supply becomes available.

Illinois opened its first COVID-19 mass vaccination site at the Tinley Park Convention Center in Cook County on Jan. 26, 2021.

Twenty-five National Guard teams will be deploying across the state to help ramp up vaccinations in coming weeks, according to Pritzker.

As it stands, the rollout in Illinois has lagged behind other states. Illinois had administered roughly 725,000 doses of the vaccine as of Monday, or 5,707 vaccines per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. West Virginia, for comparison, which has been widely praised for its rollout, has administered 11,383 vaccines per 100,000 people.

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