CHICAGO (CBS) — The mad dash to vaccinate Cook County residents is officially underway at the United Center.

CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey has tracked the progress all day but there’s still some confusion about just how many shots are left.

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Three different public officials gave CBS 2 three different numbers. Plenty of patients said they had a wonderful experience while others were turned away.

“It was not easy to get the appointment, but once you get the appointment, no problem.”

Hegewisch resident Riccardo Ayala said this was the easy part.

“It takes what? 20, 25 minutes altogether,” Ayala said.

He was one of the lucky patients to get a shot on the first day of operations at the United Center mass vaccination site.

“Everyone go to the United Center. It’s awesome.”


And Donna Archer is one of the suburban Cook County residents who got in before the eligibility changed Sunday afternoon.

“The second shot is three weeks from today, March 30 at 1:15, the same time,” Archer said.

But when it comes to just how many shots are still left, there was confusion on Tuesday.

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“One hundred ten thousand appointments already booked,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

That number turned out to be wrong.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot corrected the Cook County Board President, saying it’s more like 40,000. But then Doctor Allison Arwady had a different figure.

“It’s in the 50,000-ish range that have been completely filled,” Arwady said. “The seniors, the additional ten thousand.”

A portion of the leftovers will eventually be offered back up to suburban Cook County residents, but unfortunately, the city’s health department said it’s still formulating that plan.

In the meantime, word to the wise:

“I didn’t have any paperwork because I didn’t know you needed to print any out,” said Chicago resident Phil Robare who got turned away.

“They said you got to go away,” Robare said. “It’s sort of tough. I had to take off work.”

The Chicago resident wants to warn others to remember to bring a print out or a screenshot of your confirmation. Because without one, he’ll now be starting from square one.

But on Tuesday, he returned to the United Center and with a printout in hand, Robare was able to get his shot.

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On Tuesday, Doctor Arwady said the whole first week of vaccinations is entirely booked. The second and third weeks are partially booked.

Megan Hickey