COVID vaccine: Chicago Moderna shot rollout begins at Brighton Park clinic

Vaccinations also have begun in long-term care facilities

Tuesday, December 29, 2020
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The first Moderna COVID vaccines in Chicago were given to frontline workers at Esperanza Health in the Brighton Park Neighborhood on the city's Southwest Side.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The first doses of the Moderna vaccine are now in the arms of frontline health care workers in Chicago.

Just as the city rolled out the Pfizer vaccine at Loretto Hospital on Chicago's West Side earlier this month, the first doses of the Moderna vaccine were given on the city's Southwest Side Monday.

"It is great to be here to witness yet another milestone in our city's history and COVID-19 vaccination journey," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

Find out how many people may get a COVID-19 vaccine before you

The first five doses of the Moderna vaccine were administered to medical staff and others at Esperanza Health, which serves the Latinx community. It's the first community health center in the city to get the vaccine.

Esperanza Health is in the Brighton Park neighborhood, where the test positivity rate is more than double the citywide average.

"Portions of the Latinx community remain in crisis, and I want to make sure we don't lose sight of that," Lightfoot said.

In these first two weeks, more than 20,000 Chicago health care workers - almost all hospital-based - have received their first shots. And now, the staff at outpatient clinics like Esperanza are next.

Getting vaccinated means a lot to those on the front lines of the pandemic.

"I haven't been this excited about getting a vaccine before, coming from a family that actually did have COVID," said Hilda Lopez, lead medical assistant at Esperanza Health.

WATCH: First COVID vaccines given at Chicago long-term care facility

As the city expands beyond just hospitals, it also began distributing the vaccine to long-term care facilities, beginning with staff and patients at Alden-Wentworth in Englewood. This phase being done in conjunction with CVS and Walgreens pharmacies.

"This is the start of a multi-week distribution process that will roll out over the end of this year, January and into February as more vaccines become available," Lightfoot said.

This week, the city received another 21,450 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and will be getting another 16,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine. So far, officials say there have been no glitches in the city's plan.

"We've not seen unexpected side effects. We've not seen unusual problems here. The rollout has been very good in terms of what we're hearing back from all of our vaccinating partners," Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

The city will also launch its first mass vaccination clinic at Malcom X College Wednesday for health care workers. It will be by appointment only.

Officials say next week will mark another milestone, when the first healthcare workers who received shots earlier this month get their second doses.