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TINLEY PARK, IL — The Village of Tinley Park Board of Trustees praised the opening of Illinois' first mass vaccination center here in Tinley Park, at Tuesday evening's special board meeting.
The Cook County Department of Public Health opened the first of five mass vaccination sites at the Tinley Park Convention Center, 18451 Convention Center Drive, Monday. Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and other elected officials toured the mass site, on its opening day. About 9,000 vaccines will be dispensed weekly, and up to 18,000 doses per week once the federal government ramps up vaccine distribution. Vaccines are being administered by National Guard members, to eligible residents, including everyone over age 65 and frontline essential workers.
Over 3.2 million Illinoisans are eligible for Phase 1B of vaccine distribution.
Although the site is open and appointments have been made, the village board unanimously voted to approve a memorandum of agreement with the CCDPH, to use village facilities to perform emergency public health activities, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In turn, this made the space Illinois' first mass site to receive the vaccine.
Assistant Village Manager Pat Carr told the board that the site was put together "very quickly," revealing around the clock work brought the site together in under two weeks.
"Our convention center has been vacant for the past nine months because of COVID. So we put together a plan with Cook County Health, Cook County Emergency Management [and] the
Carr said this is a historic event and that about 500 vaccines were distributed on day one of being open. He said the site will continue to vaccinate the public until further notice.
Trustees weighed in on the site coming to town. Mike Glotz said bringing the site to Tinley "is absolutely amazing." He thanked Carr and anyone else who got involved in setting it up.
Trustee William Brennan referenced former Mayor Ed Zabrocki and board for bringing the convention center to Tinley Park. He said he spoke with Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle and found the department was looking for a space with a big enough parking lot to accommodate the amount of people expected to come in.
Trustee Cynthia Berg thinks its great that the village was able to partner with the department of public health.
"I know the south suburbs have been disproportionately affected by COVID, so it’s nice of Tinley Park to be in the position to help out," Berg said.
On Monday, Pritkzer said about three-quarter of a million doses have been administered so far in Illinois, with only about 120,000 first doses arriving this week in Illinois outside of Chicago. Due to the limited supply, vaccinations are being given by appointment only, with more slots being added each week as more vaccine becomes available.
Every state in the nation is experiencing this same shortage, Pritzker said. "It's another example of the Trump Administration's tragic incompetence that they didn't invoke the defense production act and didn't order more vaccine from the manufacturers."
You can register for the vaccine here. Appointments must be made, and no walk-ins are accepted at the convention center at this time.