By Mugo Odigwe

CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County officials will be releasing 20,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointments at noon Friday for people who qualify for the shots.

The new appointments for first-dose shots will be available at five mass vaccination sites in the Cook County suburbs:

  • Tinley Park Convention Center, 18451 Convention Center Dr, Tinley Park (Moderna)
  • Triton College, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL (Pfizer)
  • South Suburban College, 15800 State St., South Holland (Pfizer)
  • North Riverside Health Center, 1800 S Harlem Ave., North Riverside (Pfizer)
  • Des Plaines vaccine site at 1155 E. Oakton St., Des Plaines (Johnson & Johnson; Pfizer starting March 15)
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To get a vaccine at any of those locations you need to register at vaccine.cookcountyil.gov or by calling the Cook County Health call center at 833-308-1988, Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

All vaccinations are by appointment only and proof of being in Phase 1A or 1B will be required. Phase 1A and 1B include healthcare workers, long-term care facility workers and residents, anyone age 65 or older, and frontline essential workers (such as first responders, grocery store workers, teachers, manufacturing workers, corrections officers, postal employees, and public transit workers).

Those who get their first shot will be able to schedule their second dose during their first-dose appointment.

CBS 2’s Mugo Odigwe spoke with some people about what getting this vaccine means to them.

“I can’t explain. Overwhelming,” Margaret Depaz said.

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Depaz received her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Friday at South Suburban College. It was an emotional and bittersweet moment.

“So many deaths. So many lives lost. I work for two doctors, and they work very hard. So for us to protect ourselves, it’s very important for us to all get the vaccine,” Depaz said.

While she couldn’t hold back tears, Miguel Figueroa couldn’t hold back something else: excitement; especially after trying and failing to get secure an appointment numerous times before.

“You never know when someone don’t show up then that makes it open for somebody else,” Figueroa said.

He’s happy to know he’ll soon be able to visit family members, including the talented cooks in his family.

“Once I get my two shots, please, all my aunts, have the food ready. I’m coming to visit y’all,” he said.

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This vaccine appointment opportunity comes just a few days after the United Center site started vaccinating thousands of people.

That site is now mostly serving communities in Chicago that have been hit hardest by COVID-19.