COVID vaccine: Cook County to open new Forest Park vaccination site as Illinois, Indiana expand eligibility

More than 900 vaccine locations open statewide, including at CVS, Walgreens and Jewel-Osco
CHICAGO (WLS) -- COVID-19 vaccine eligibility is expanding in Illinois and Indiana and Cook County announced plans for a new mass vaccination site in Forest Park.

Starting Monday, higher education staff, government works and members of the media are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines at more than 900 locations, including at Walgreens, CVS and Jewel-Osco.

Gov. Pritzker discusses new Cook County vaccine site


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Gov. JB Pritzker discusses a new COVID-19 vaccination site in Forest Park.



On Friday, a former big box store in Forest Park will be up and running as Cook County's second largest mass vaccination site coordinated with effort with the Army National Guard.

"This location which will be able to administer up to 1,000 doses per day, at launch, and then over 2,000 soon after," Gov. JB Pritzker said.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said it will be able to increase that to 5,000, depending on supply. The goal of the site is to vaccinate those most in need.

"If we are going to put an end to this pandemic and resume our regular lives, we need to prioritize the vaccine for those who are most at risk and marginalized from access to medical care," said Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch, Illinois House Speaker.

WATCH: New Cook County vaccine site coming to Forest Park


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A former big box store in Forest Park will soon be up and running as Cook County's second largest mass vaccination site.



Gov. Pritzker spoke to concerns about eligible people still seeking a vaccine.

"It is true that we don't have enough vaccine anywhere in the nation to satisfy demand," Pritzker said. "However, we are not in the next phase of eligibility for everyone 16 and over. Yes, we have three more weeks, and during this period there are a number of particular clinics focused on those 65 and over."

He also reported that Illinois continues to make progress towards further reopening the state under the bridge plan announced last week, noting that as of Monday, 64% of seniors have now been vaccinated.

When that number reaches 70%, which could happen in about a week, capacity limits for many venues will be expanded.

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Chicago will move into Phase 1C for vaccinations on March 29, with appointments set to be available to more essential workers and residents with health conditions.



Pritzker has set a date of April 12 to open vaccines up to all residents over 16.

In Cook County, people in Group 1B+ are now eligible, which includes anyone 16 and older with certain health conditions. The county is also now receiving extra doses for its state-run mass vaccination sites so that it can offer shots to all Illinois residents in Groups 1A, 1B and 1B+.

Just a week ago, Preckwinkle said vaccine supply wasn't predictable enough to know when 1B+ would be possible, so it is certainly promising news to see the county now move into that phase just days later with more shots on the way.

Chicago, meanwhile, will be moving to group 1C next Monday. Starting Tuesday, the United Center will be able to offer drive-thru as well as walk-up options for those getting vaccinated at the super site.

Residents who don't have access to or need assistance navigating online services can call the toll-free IDPH hotline at 833-621-1284 to book an appointment. The hotline is open 7 days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight with agents available in English and Spanish.

SEE ALSO | Local health experts answer your COVID-19 vaccine questions


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CDPH Medical Director Janna Kerins and the Lake County Health Dept.'s Dr. Sana Ahmed answer your most pressing COVID-19 vaccine questions.



For the latest COVID-19 vaccination information in suburban Cook County, cookcountypublichealth.org. To register to receive an appointment, visit vaccine.cookcountyil.gov.

Starting Monday in Indiana, people over 40 will be eligible for the vaccine. The age limit had been 45.

Health care workers, long-term care residents, teachers, and other school workers will also be eligible regardless of age. In Indiana, you can call 211 to make an appointment.
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