City’s top public health official opens first mass vaccination site, gets jab herself

The site at Malcolm X College expects to vaccinate a “few hundred” people each day.

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Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner for the Chicago Department of Public Health, receives a coronavirus vaccine shot Tuesday at Malcolm X College.

Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner for the Chicago Department of Public Health, receives a coronavirus vaccine shot Tuesday at Malcolm X College.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

The city’s top public health official rolled up her sleeve for the coronavirus vaccine Tuesday as she opened Chicago’s first mass vaccination site at Malcolm X College.

“I’m wonderful!” Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner for the Chicago Department of Public Health, said moments after getting the jab. “Honestly, can’t even feel it. I’m so pleased right now.”

The site is open by appointment only for health care workers who aren’t affiliated with a hospital. Initially, the Malcolm X site is expected to vaccinate “a few hundred” people each day, Arwady said. The vaccinations are free, she said.

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Beginning in late February or early spring, older city residents — as well as corrections workers, educators, transit workers, grocery store employees — can expect to be offered the vaccine, Arwady said.

“Please note that we are working to roll out this vaccine as fast and as safely as we possibly can,” she said.

Arwady also urged people to avoid big celebrations for New Year’s Eve.

“Please make different plans for New Year’s. This is not a year for gathering,” she said.

She noted the city, over the last week, has averaged about 1,075 new coronavirus cases per day — down from about 1,300 a week earlier. In total, about 200,000 Chicagoans have been diagnosed with the disease, and about 4,000 have died from it, she said.

Arwady qualified for the vaccination, the first of two shots, because she is an outpatient health care worker who sees patients. She said she will return to Malcolm X in about three weeks to get her second shot.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady shows off her “I got my COVID-19 Vaccine” sticker Tuesday.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady shows off her “I got my COVID-19 Vaccine” sticker Tuesday.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Chicago’s first mass vaccination site opened Tuesday at Malcolm X College. It is expected to vaccinate a few hundred people daily.

Chicago’s first mass vaccination site opened Tuesday at Malcolm X College. It is expected to vaccinate a few hundred people daily.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

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