COVID vaccine Illinois: Vaccinations to become available at downtown Chicago office buildings

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As more people start returning to work downtown, businesses are partnering with state and local health officials to make it easier for people to get vaccinated.

Gov. JB Pritzker launched a new program Monday to bring clinics directly to where people work.

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Governor JB Pritzker and Mayor Lori LIghtfoot announces that vaccination teams will be coming to major commercial buildings so people van get a vaccine at their workplace.



With vaccine supplies now outpacing demand, the state is adding a new focus in their vaccination efforts to help boost the percentage of those who have gotten their shots.

Things are looking brighter for getting more shots in the arms of employees who work downtown.

"We are focused on taking vaccine to people instead of people needing to come and meet the vaccine," said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director, Illinois Dept. of Public Health.

Starting next week several major downtown buildings, including the Merchandise Mart and the Wrigley Building, will be hosting clinics to get employees vaccinated. 150 N. Riverside will host its own on May 21. The state will also be partnering to bring clinics to Rockford and Schaumburg. People will have to register for appointments.

The sites are:
-Merchandise Mart, 222 West Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago
-Harris Bank Building, 115 S. LaSalle Street, Chicago
-540 W. Madison Street, Chicago

-Equitable Building, 401 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago
-150 N. Riverside Plaza, Chicago
-311 South Wacker (Walgreens at 250 S Wacker Dr), Chicago
-Wrigley Building, 400-410 North Michigan Avenue (Walgreens at 410 N Michigan Ave), Chicago
-308 W. State Street, Rockford
-1111 S. Alpine Road, Rockford
-1061 American Lane, Schaumburg

Pritzker said the initial clinics at several commercial buildings will take place during shift changes so they can accommodate as many workers as possible.

"If you're a younger person that has not had as much time to be able to get the vaccine. This is probably another, you know, very positive development in that front," said Kent Swanson, Exec. VP, Riverside Investment and Development.

After two weeks of steady declines in the number of people getting vaccinated across the state, the rolling seven-day average is on the rise.

But with only 35% of the state fully vaccinated, health officials are looking for every way possible to boost that.

"For many of their buildings' tenants, remote work is coming to an end, having vaccine available where you work makes getting vaccinated very convenient," Pritzker said.

It will also be a shot in the arm for the downtown economy. The Building Owners and Management Association stressing how critical it is to get the 600-thousand people- who pre-pandemic- worked in downtown buildings- back into their offices.

"It is imperative for our state and our city to recover and nurture that density. Literally, it is both literally and figuratively the core of what makes us a city and it is certainly what sustains our collective economy," said Farzin Parang, Executive Director, BOMA.

If the demand is there, Pritzker said the state will come back for more vaccination clinics.

The governor also said if more building owners and managers across the state want to host similar events, the state of Illinois will help organize that.

Any group, be it a religious group or a neighborhood organization, can sign up through the state to host a vaccination clinic for zero cost to them. The governor promised to provide the resources and the staff.

More information is available at www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/vaccinationclinics.
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