United Center to begin mass vaccinations this week

It is going to be a big, busy week at the United Center after work continued all weekend to get the mass vaccination site ready.

Flight attendant Wendy Ford was among dozens of people who came to the United Center on Sunday hoping to secure an appointment when it opens on Tuesday.

"I came here today because I am interested in getting vaccinated for my job, not just to protect myself but to protect those around me," Ford said.


When the federally operated site opens, it will be the largest vaccination facility in the state, administering 6,000 doses a day.

Appointments must be made online or by phone for Chicago seniors 65 and older, and starting Sunday appointments expanded to category 1B Plus -- people 18 and older with underlying medical conditions.

"That means we’re going to get a lot more people vaccinated much quicker, and by getting vaccinated quicker we’re hopefully going to get to herd immunity and we can start talking about getting back to normal. So this is huge. We’re in a race against time to get vaccines into arms," said Dr. Shikha Jain.

Construction is also moving along on a drive-through vaccination site at the United Center, which is about two weeks away from being ready.

The entire process is also good news for scores of union workers at the UC who depend on concerts and conventions that have disappeared.

"Nothing’s ever been done like this before. So it’s a bit of a learning curve for everybody and we’re just trying to get it going and make it as soon as possible for the people getting here and start vaccinating everybody and back to work," said Terry Braun of Teamsters Local 727.