CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s top doctor says people can now schedule their COVID vaccine through a new platform called Zocdoc.
Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said the COVID vaccine rollout is moving quickly as the number of COVID cases in the city is trending downward.READ MORE: Organizer Planning To Go Ahead With Concert In Valparaiso, Indiana This Summer, With Some COVID Precautions
“As a reminder, we’d like to get below 5% positivity and heading better in that direction every single day,” Arwady said.
Chicago is now in Phase 1B for people eligible for the COVID vaccine. That includes people age65 and older, first responders, teachers and essential workers. Phase 1A was dedicated for doctors, nurses and other health care workers but those in that group can still get their COVID shot.
She said the city is engaging in a partnership with Zocdoc to give a platform for residents to make COVID-19 vaccine appointments as they become available.
Chicago is the first city to implement the Zocdoc Vaccine Scheduler. The new service is free and designed to streamline vaccine scheduling.
Arwady said while the supply of COVID vaccines is limited, appointments will be added on an ongoing basis as more vaccines are allocated to providers.
“Zocdoc provides a great service that will help people access vaccines as the supply increases over the coming weeks and months, and Chicago residents can also sign up to be notified when new appointments become available,” said Arwady. “We will still need people to be patient as the vaccine rollout continues, but we’re excited about this partnership as it provides Chicagoans another option to connect with providers as they receive more vaccine.”
She added that as of Tuesday, one in every 18 Chicagoans has gotten a COVID vaccine.
“Here in Chicago we’ve administered more than 238,000 doses of COVID vaccine and one in 18 Chicago residents have now received at least a first dose,” Arwady said. “As a reminder, everybody needs to get two doses of vaccine, no matter where you whether you gotten Pfizer or Moderna.
The head of the CDPH said she was pleased to see the number of coronavirus-related deaths going downward, but the numbers aren’t where she’d like to see them.
“Our deaths continue to decline in Chicago. We are now averaging below 10 deaths per day we’re at an average of nine per day. That’s comparable to where we were in early November down more than 50% from our peak in this second search here so all of our COVID indicators, continue to trend in the right direction, even with some of the limited reopening that we’ve been able to do over these last few weeks,” Arwady said.READ MORE: 1 Dead, 2 Injured In I-57 Expressway Shooting Near 119th Street
In addressing the issue of getting CPS teachers vaccinated, a major demand from the Chicago Teachers Union, Arwady said the city is dedicating COVID vaccine to teachers as quickly as possible.
“While some of these negotiations are going on, I don’t want to get premature about some of those details related to vaccine but I do think we are in a good place,” Arwady said. “Everybody, including CDPH is in agreement that we want to get Chicago schools back in session. And we want to make sure that educators have access to vaccine. We just can’t make that access at the expense of all of the other populations that that that really need to make sure that they can get vaccine as well.”
When asked about whether fans can return to the stands for local sports, like the Chicago Blackhawks, Arwady said while she’s optimistic regarding the recent trend of COVID case numbers moving downward, going to games can’t happen right now.
“We are still not even below that 400 case mark and that 5% positivity, that really marks our danger,” Arwady said. “Where I think about fans in stands, that is months away.”
For more on Chicago’s vaccine rollout, visit www.chicago.gov/covidvax.
Arwady said the best option for people who do not have digital access is to see their health care provider because they are able to facilitate those who can get it and when.
“They are getting vaccine, lots of vaccine right now with the express purpose of calling their existing patients. This also helps to make sure that our vaccine is going to Chicago residents people who get ongoing medical care in Chicago,” said Arwady, who added that outreach efforts continue throughout the city.
“This literally includes things like are people going door to door, helping people, (asking) can I make you a vaccine appointment? Can I get you registered in a way that there are vaccine appointments dedicated for that community and pods that are set up,” Arwady said. “To make sure that some of the areas that we know are less digitally connected and otherwise may not otherwise get vaccine and certainly there will be worked through churches and other community based organizations that has already begun.”
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CHICAGO VACCINE UPDATE: Chicago is the first city to implement the Zocdoc Vaccine Scheduler, a new service that is free of charge and designed to streamline Chicago’s vaccine scheduling. #ProtectChicago https://t.co/CaEaU8aZ5x https://t.co/yWn8FCKIY3
— ChiPublicHealth (@ChiPublicHealth) February 2, 2021
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