CHICAGO (CBS) — Pharmacies and mass vaccination sites say residents are working very hard to keep their COVID-19 vaccination appointments, even in the snow. But if they cancel, it’s still unclear if they will have to go to the back of the line.
Cook County health officials announced late Monday that they will be closing several coronavirus vaccination sites Tuesday due to the snowstorm pounding the Chicago area.READ MORE: Woman Dead After Being Stabbed On South Wacker Drive Downtown
Vaccinations will continue at Stroger Hospital of Cook County, Provident Hospital of Cook County, and the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center. But all other locations – including large-scale sites – will be closed Tuesday.
The decision was made due to the prospect of dangerous travel conditions because of the snowstorm.
Patients who have appointments for vaccination on Tuesday will be contacted and rescheduled this week. Those with questions may call (833) 308-1988 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
At the sites that will still be open, the Cook County Vaccine Program will conduct a limited release of 5,000 new first-dose appointments on Tuesday.
Earlier Monday, the snow plows were working overtime at Cook County’s COVID-19 vaccination site at the Tinley Park Convention Center, plowing a path for residents to keep their precious appointments. And staff on site said most people did.
Many arrived early to their appointments, planning ahead for the inclement weather that plagued the city and the suburbs for much of the day.
“Under no circumstances do we waste vaccine in the city of Chicago,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, when asked if weather cancellations could jeopardize the thawing process for the time sensitive doses.READ MORE: At Least 2 Killed, 22 Wounded In Weekend Shootings In Chicago
She said they’re prepared for possible delays.
“Even the ultra cold Pfizer vaccine you have five days to use that vaccine, and we have planning in place to make sure that all of it is used in the time from when we thaw it,” she said.
On Monday, Walgreens, Jewel-Osco, and CVS told CBS 2 they are monitoring the weather and encourage patients to contact their pharmacy location to cancel or reschedule their appointments due to the snow.
But do those people have to go back to the end of the line? Today none of those spokespersons would elaborate.
Meanwhile the DuPage County Health Department made the decision to delay the opening of its clinic until 10 a.m. Tuesday morning. A spokesperson said all persons with appointments before 10 a.m. will be rescheduled. They will get an email, text, or a call with instructions.
DCHD, like Cook County, also said they have processes in place to prevent vaccine from being wasted during the scheduling and rescheduling process.
The state of Indiana is getting out ahead of this storm, preemptively sending a warning to residents with vaccine appointments. The Indiana State Department of Health sent out a message Monday morning saying individuals whose appointments are impacted will be notified by email or text message about the need to reschedule, and they will be able to reschedule by dialing 211.
If you are looking to make an appointment for a vaccine, here are some links to help: (We have to caution you, it may be difficult to find an available shot in the near future and near your home, but we did want to share all these links in one place to perhaps make it easier for you.)MORE NEWS: 2 People Shot, Wounded In Separate Incidents On North Avenue On Cusp Of Humboldt Park, Logan Square