United Center vaccine site opens for appointments

The United Center mass vaccination site in Chicago and another in suburban Des Plaines are set to begin accepting appointments online and by phone Thursday.

Video Transcript

JESSICA D'ONOFRIO: [? Tanya ?] and [? Terrell, ?] appointments for the UC site are expected to go fast, in just a few hours. People can make them online or over the phone. And then come next week, shots will start going into arms. Starting at 8:30 this morning the online platform Zocdoc will be up and running.

OLIVER KHARRAZ: I think it's a fairer system to put all the availability out there in one place versus having hidden pockets where you need to either, you know, work the system or work your connections.

JESSICA D'ONOFRIO: Zocdoc CEO Oliver Kharraz says all 110,000 vaccine appointments for the United Center will be available this morning. He expects demand to reach at least 300 bookings per minute. That's a staggering 18,000 per hour.

OLIVER KHARRAZ: I think there's a fair chance that all 110,000 will go. I think there's still a lot more demand for the vaccine than there is supply.

JESSICA D'ONOFRIO: This morning, ABC 7 has learned a portion of those appointments, as much as 19%, will be dedicated to the call center. But some wish the system did more to target communities of color.

MARINA DEL RIOS: Weighted lottery system or else at least have a list of priority people. If you are in these particular zip codes and these particular communities, then you get first dibs.

JESSICA D'ONOFRIO: Appointments will also open today for this new mass vaccination site in Des Plaines, the first in suburban Cook County to utilize the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

ISRAEL ROCHA JR: Because Johnson & Johnson is a single dose vaccine, patients do not have to worry about scheduling a second appointment.

JESSICA D'ONOFRIO: Now, the Des Plaines site will open this weekend. It's located in a former Kmart store and it will become one of the largest mass vaccination sites in the Northwest suburbs. Now for more information on who's eligible for shots at both mass vaccination sites and how to make an appointment, just go to our website at ABC7Chicago.Com