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

ByMichelle Gallardo and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Tinley Park Convention Center COVID vaccine site opens Tuesday
The Tinley Park Convention Center is suburban Cook County's first mass COVID vaccination site, and will be open by appointment only starting Tuesday.

TINLEY PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- The Tinley Park Convention Center will be the first large scale COVID-19 vaccination site to open in Cook County, opening Tuesday.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Gov. JB Pritzker announced the site at a press conference Monday. Staffing at the mass vaccination site will be helped by the Illinois National Guard, and Preckwinkle herself got the first shot.

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

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.

"In order to make sure we don't have people interrupting their days when there is not the guarantee of an appointment, the website will only reflect appointments where a vaccine is guaranteed," said Israel Rocha, Jr., CEO of Cook County Health.

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.

County officials said they will be able to give as many as 3,000 vaccines per day when the Tinley Park site is fully optimized and enough vaccine is available. To start, they're expecting to give around 9,000 vaccines per week.

"While current vaccine supply does not meet the demand, we are standing up large scale sites now to ensure we are ready as vaccine continues to be distributed to Cook County," Preckwinkle said.

WATCH: Preckwinkle gets vaccinated

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle got her COVID vaccine at the Tinley Park Convention Center, the county's first large scale vaccination site.

RELATED: 3.2M in Illinois now eligible for COVID vaccine

Cook County is hoping to open five more large scale vaccination sites across the Chicago suburbs pending vaccine availability.

Walgreens, Jewel-Osco, CVS, Mariano's and Kroger will also be offering appointments for Phase 1B vaccination. You can visit coronavirus.illinois.gov and select "Vaccine Eligibility" from the menu at the top of the page to determine if you are able to get vaccinated at this time.

Supply, however, is expected to remain the biggest problem.

"By our estimate, over 600,000 suburban individuals are eligible for Phase 1B," Preckwinkle said. "We do not have adequate vaccine supply to vaccinate everyone immediately."

And while around 750,000 people have been vaccinated in Illinois so far, there are hundreds of thousands of doses still in storage and out of reach, a source of frustration as distribution to long-term care facilities has not gone as planned.

RELATED: Chicago COVID vaccine map shows how many residents vaccinated by zip code

"All vaccinations that are necessary for that entire group have been taken out already of our allotment, and they sit on shelves because the federal pharmacy partnership is so slow at the job," said Gov. JB Pritzker.

County officials also reminded residents to remain patient, as Phase 1B vaccination is expected to take some time and is contingent on availability of vaccine.

Phase 1B includes people aged 65 and over and front line essential workers.