Triton College COVID vaccine site opens as 2nd Cook County mass vaccination site

TINLEY PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- The latest COVID-19 mass vaccination site in the Chicago area opened at Triton College in west suburban River Grove Wednesday.

The Triton College site is the second in suburban Cook County, with the first opening at the Tinley Park Convention Center.

RELATED: Illinois COVID vaccine map shows how many residents vaccinated by county

The site is open by appointment only for people who live or work in suburban Cook and are age 65 and older or essential workers.

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All vaccinations at the Tinley Park and other Cook County sites will be available by appointment only. If you are included in Phase 1A or 1B of Illinois' vaccination plan, you can schedule an appointment by visiting the Cook County COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program website. You can also use that website to sign up for updates from Cook County about vaccination updates and scheduling future appointments.

If you do not have internet access, you can call 833-308-1988 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday for more information and to schedule an appointment if you are eligible.

"This is our opening day," said Cook County Health vaccination coordinator Gregory Huhn. "We're gonna vaccinate hundreds today and that's gonna scale up probably close to 800 perhaps on a daily basis."

Fran Shalin is getting vaccinated Wednesday after trying at other places for several weeks. She was surprised when she got through Tuesday to make the appointment.

"It was 10 o'clock on my cell phone so it was on speaker," Shalin said. "I was cleaning the house and my husband was in the room with the phone and he says, 'Why don't you give up already?' and I said, 'No. I'm not giving up' and within a few minutes, I got through. Very shocked."

Cook County is planning to roll out more sites out every week or two over the next month to maximize access and getting shots into arms on a large scale and the demand is great.

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"We have a constrained vaccine supply right now," Huhn said. "We are working toward a greater capacity to manufacture vaccines rolling out vaccines really on a week by week basis."

Mario Ferrici and his wife arrived to get vaccinated, imagining what their lives will look like after a long hard year.

"A lot more socializing," he said. "Going places...we order a lot of food in. We're seniors, so it's going to be a whole lot easier then."

Meanwhile in Chicago, officials are trying to make it easier for people to get their shots, announcing a new website that connects people to vaccine appointments.

RELATED: Tinley Park Convention Center COVID vaccine site is Cook County's 1st large scale operation

Instead of searching various provider websites, the online platform Zocdoc aims to streamline the process by searching those appointment logs for you.

"People are booking in under a minute and we're very proud of that," said Richard Fine with Zocdoc. "I think that's a tremendous improvement over the hours that people are spending and then not able to find vaccine at this time."

RELATED: Chicago COVID-19 vaccine: City launches sign up website in partnership with Zocdoc

Providers include city of Chicago points of dispensing, AMITA Health, Rush University Medical Center, Erie Family Health and Innovative Express Care. More are expected to join.

"We're so excited to have a strong tech platform that, as vaccine availability rolls up, can grow with us," said Chicago Department of Public Health Dr. Allison Arwady.
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