Des Plaines, United Center mass vaccination sites to begin accepting appointments Thursday

DES PLAINES, Ill. (WLS) -- The United Center mass vaccination site in Chicago and another in suburban Des Plaines are set to begin accepting appointments online and by phone Thursday.

A total of 110,000 appointments will be made available for the United Center mass vaccination site. The first appointments will open at 8:30 a.m. Thursday for seniors. After the signup period for seniors, anyone eligible for a vaccine as part of the Phase 1B+ group can begin scheduling appointments at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 7.

To register for an appointment at the United Center, visit www.zocdoc.com/vaccine or call the multilingual hotline (312) 746-4835 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Come 8:30 a.m., the online platform Zocdoc is expected to be on the screens of tens of thousands across the state.

"I think it's a fairer system to put all the availability out there in one place, versus having hidden pockets where you need to either work the system or work your connections," said Oliver Kharraz, founder & CEO of Zocdoc.

Kharraz said all 110,000 vaccine appointments will be available in the morning, rather than parceled out per day.

He expects demand to reach at least 300 bookings per minute. That's 18,000 per hour, at least initially.

"I think there's a fair chance that all 110,000 will go," Kharraz said. "I think there's still a lot more demand for the vaccine than there's supply."

ABC 7 has learned a portion of those appointments - as much as 19% - will be dedicated to the call center. But some wish the system did more to target communities of color.

"A weighted lottery system," suggested Dr. Marina Del Rios, Vaccine Corp Partnership. "Or else at least have a list of priority people. If you are in these particular zip codes and these particular communities, then you get first dibs."

WATCH | Des Plaines mass vaccination site set to open Thursday
EMBED More News Videos

The National Guard-supported mass vaccination site in Des Plaines will be the first in Cook County to utilize the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine.



Located in a former K-Mart store, the new mass vaccination site in Des Plaines is one of the largest, if not the largest, in the northwest suburbs. It opens Thursday and officials hope to begin vaccinations Friday or Saturday for the people in Phase 1B.

Appointments for the Des Plaines mass vaccination site can be made starting Thursday at 1 p.m. at vaccine.cookcountyil.gov or by phone at (833) 308-1988. The site will be open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was joined by other public officials as she toured this new location at 1155 East Oakton Street in Des Plaines Wednesday.

The National Guard-supported site will be the first in Cook County to utilize the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The county is expecting 18,000 J&J doses to arrive from the federal government Thursday. The goal is to vaccinate up to 3,500 people per day.

"Because Johnson & Johnson is a single-dose vaccine, patients do not have to worry about scheduling a second appointment," said Israel Rocha, Jr., CEO, Cook County Health. "That's an advantage that we'll be able to be afforded to make sure that we can actually see even more individuals through sites like today."

"We'll continue to urge patience in this vaccination process. As we know, the vaccine supply has been limited, and while it's improving, we still cannot meet demand," Preckwinkle said.

This Des Plaines site is the fourth large-scale vaccination center in suburban Cook County, joining facilities in Tinley Park, River Grove and South Holland. That's in addition to National Guard-supported sites at several Cook County Health centers.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.