CHICAGO (CBS) — With COVID cases on the rise again in Chicago, and more than 48% of the city’s population still not fully vaccinated, the Chicago Department of Public Health is expanding its at-home vaccination program, and offering financial incentives for people to sign up.
The at-home vaccination program, Protect Chicago At Home, started as an effort to get shots to seniors who are homebound, but has since expanded to anyone age 12 and up, for up to 10 people per household.READ MORE: Girl, 17, Dies After Being Shot In West Elsdon
On Tuesday, city officials said the city is now doubling the capacity of that program, allowing them to offer up to 900 appointments per week, and expand operating ours, with appointments available weekdays between 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Officials said the additional capacity should reduce wait times for at-home appointments, which are currently fully booked two weeks out.
The expansion comes as Arwady warned that COVID-19 metrics in Chicago are headed in the wrong direction, nearing an average of 200 cases per day, a threshold at which Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said the city will consider reinstating a mask mandate or other COVID-19 restrictions.
“When we get over 200, we start certainly watching more closely. We may make some recommendations around people who are older, or have underlying conditions,” Arwady said. “My feeling is, we want to make sure if we are moving to particularly a mandate around masking again, even for people who are unvaccinated, I want to do that based on our local data, and our local risk, and I want to do it at a time where really the risk is significantly higher. At this point, luckily it remains in that lower risk and so I wouldn’t be surprised if we get there. We may.”
As an incentive to sign up for at-home vaccine appointments, the city also is offering $25 Visa gift cards to anyone who gets vaccinated at home.
“At-home vaccination is certainly one of the easiest and most convenient ways to be vaccinated. Make an appointment, and the vaccine will come to you,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement. “As we see a resurgence of COVID-19 cases across the country and here in Chicago, we know it is primarily affecting those who are unvaccinated, which is why it is so critical we get more people in Chicago vaccinated. If you and members of your family have not yet received your vaccine, I urge you to take advantage of this great opportunity and make an appointment today.”
The at-home vaccination program offers people a choice between the two-dose Pfizer vaccine, which is approved for people ages 12 and up, or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is only approved for people age 18 and up.READ MORE: Chicago Fire Paramedic's Cap Grazed At Stroger Hospital; Man Killed In Shooting Nearby
Up to 10 people can be vaccinated per household at one time.
To make an appointment for in-home vaccination, call (312) 746-4835 or register by region using the links below, or at www.chicago.gov/athome.
Far South: Beverly, Burnside, Calumet Heights, East Side, Hegewisch, Morgan Park, Mount Greenwood, Pullman, Riverdale, Roseland, South Deering, Washington Heights, and West Pullman
Near South: Auburn Gresham, Avalon Park, Chatham, Douglas, Englewood, Fuller Park, Grand Boulevard, Greater Grand Crossing, Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, South Chicago, South Shore, Washington Park, West Englewood, and Woodlawn
North/Central: Edgewater, Lake View, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, Loop, Near North Side, Near South Side, North Center, Rogers Park, Uptown, and West Ridge
Northwest: Albany Park, Avondale, Belmont Cragin, Dunning, Edison Park, Forest Glen, Hermosa, Irving Park, Jefferson Park, Logan Square, Montclare, North Park, Norwood Park, and Portage Park
Southwest: Archer Heights, Armour Square, Ashburn, Bridgeport, Brighton Park, Chicago Lawn, Clearing, Gage Park, Garfield Ridge, McKinley Park, New City, West Elsdon, and West LawnMORE NEWS: Simeon Football Team Plays Without Fans In Bleachers After Slayings Of Two Students This Week
West: Austin, East Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Lower West Side, Near West Side, North Lawndale, South Lawndale, West Garfield Park, and West Town