As more Illinois residents get vaccinated against COVID-19, Cook County officials said half of its six suburban mass vaccination locations will close permanently Thursday.
The need for a centralized rollout has given way to a new strategy of meeting hard-to-reach residents where they are, so the Tinley Park, South Holland and River Grove mass vaccination centers will be “consolidating” into the remaining locations. That means residents seeking a mass vaccination site in the suburbs must go to Forest Park, Des Plaines or Matteson for an inoculation shot, either with an appointment or walk-in.
In reopening news, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the return of a classic Chicago beach season will run through Labor Day, with 22 lakeshore spots in the city reopening all amenities except drinking fountains. And Chicago’s Pride Parade has been officially moved to Sunday, Oct. 3, a pandemic-induced departure from its usual last Sunday in June date.
Here’s what’s happening Thursday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area:
5:50 p.m.: Once bustling vaccination site in Tinley Park gives it one last shot
After administering its last COVID-19 vaccine shot at about noon Thursday, Cook County officials said the Tinley Park Convention Center, the county’s first mass vaccination site, had exceeded expectations.
During a walk through and clap out to celebrate staff and members of the Illinois National Guard who had worked at the site since it opened Jan. 26, Israel Rocha, chief executive of Cook County Health, said the results accomplished were “above and beyond whatever we though was possible.”
“It was a huge undertaking and a huge success,” said Iliana Mora, Cook County Health’s chief operating officer.
The site near the interchange of Interstate 80 and Harlem Avenue administered nearly 136,000 doses. It was closed along with a mass vaccination site at South Suburban College in South Holland. The college site opened in early February and administered more than 71,000 doses, according to the county.
Cook County still operates a south suburban mass vaccination site in Matteson, at 4647 Promenade Way, near U.S. 30 and Cicero Avenue.
Cook County rented the convention center space for $300,000 per month, and Tinley Park police, firefighters and emergency management personnel were on site each day with the village providing security. The village hopes to get reimbursement for those personnel costs through grants, said Pat Carr, assistant village manager and director of emergency management operations.
12:43 p.m.: Chicago White Sox are offering COVID-19 shots to fans on Friday and Saturday
The White Sox and Cook County Health are holding a COVID-19 vaccination event for fans attending games Friday and Saturday, when the Sox host the Baltimore Orioles.
Ticket-holders who get their Johnson & Johnson vaccines at the Guaranteed Rate Field pop-up clinic will receive $25 White Sox gift cards for use inside the ballpark, the team said.
The first 10,000 fans attending those two Sox-Orioles games also are supposed to receive Tim Anderson Bat Flip Bobbleheads.
The vaccination event is scheduled for…