COOK COUNTY - Cook County Health officials announced a pilot program Wednesday for walk-in coronavirus vaccinations at two south suburban sites, allowing residents to receive a vaccination without an appointment.
The mass vaccination sites — located in Tinley Park at 18451 Convention Center Dr. and in Matteson at 4647 Promenade Way — will be open between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, health officials said. Those with appointments will also still be able to get their shots.
"We all know that the pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color and those groups are also most hesitant to get the vaccine. It is critical that we remove any and all barriers to vaccination," Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said.
"Matteson and Tinley are near areas that we want to close the gaps even further," said Bill Lowry Cook County Commissioner of the 3rd district. "Areas that have greater equity closing opportunities, so that we can get more individuals."
While Cook County has expanded eligibility to anyone over the age of 16, only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for teenagers, so 16 and 17 year olds will have to sign up at the Matteson site and be accompanied by a parent or guardian, health officials said.
Anyone else can walk up to either site with a photo ID and register in person for a free vaccine, without having to show proof of insurance or immigration status, health officials said.
Meanwhile, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced 2,765 more cases of the coronavirus, along with 28 more deaths. That brings the total number of cases in the state up to 1,309,552 since the start of the pandemic, including 21,722 deaths.
The statewide positivity rate remained the same at 3.8%, health officials said. On Tuesday, 140,712 vaccinations were administered in the state.
The expansion of access comes as President Joe Biden urges employers to give their workers paid leave to get their shots.
"I'm calling on every employer, large and small, in every state to give employees the time off they need with pay to get vaccinated," said President Joe Biden. "Anytime they need with pay to recover if they're feeling under the weather after the shot."
The White House says that 25% of Americans who do not currently plan to get vaccinated; would change their minds if they got paid leave, gift cards, or cash bonuses.
Fox 32's Tia Ewing contributed to this report.