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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Gov. Pritzker plans vaccination of workers in commercial buildings as companies open
--From a press release
2021-05-10

This article shared 559 times since Mon May 10, 2021
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Chicago — To further expand convenient opportunities for Illinoisans to get vaccinated, Governor JB Pritzker launched a new program today that offers building workers and returning office staff a chance to get their shot at work.

"Having vaccine available where you work makes getting vaccinated very convenient," said Governor JB Pritzker. "SEIU and other area unions, local businesses, and the building managers have worked hand in hand with IDPH to make this as easy as possible. It's exciting to see traffic in commercial districts across Illinois begin to pick up after a long year apart — an achievement only possible because of the life-saving protection of vaccines and the consequent reduction of cases and hospital admissions. More vaccinations will mean more of a return to normal for everyone."

"Getting vaccinated is a personal decision and my goal is to arm people with the facts, including the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, as they are making that decision," said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. "As a physician, I know and have seen the benefits of vaccination. In fact, nearly all doctors have already been vaccinated. I encourage people who may have questions or concerns about the vaccine to talk with their doctor."

"Chicago was one of the first and only municipalities to prioritize employer-based vaccinations, which has significantly enhanced our vaccine accessibility and equity efforts," said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "Thanks to this new initiative, people will be able to conveniently get this life-saving vaccine right in their workplace, furthering our efforts to create a safe return to work process for our residents in the economic heart of our city—regardless of their occupation. I commend Governor Pritzker, our partners in labor and at the State for launching this initiative to help us get one step closer to fully vaccinating our city."

The effort launches with 10 sites in Chicago, Schaumburg and Rockford — including iconic buildings like the Merchandise Mart and Wrigley Building. The state is partnering with the Building Owners and Managers Association and local unions to encourage front desk staff, custodial workers, security, building engineers and other employees to sign up for an appointment in advance, and outreach will be conducted to neighboring buildings as well. The clinics offer two-dose vaccinations and will also take walk-ins.

Beginning in mid-May, the following buildings will be included in the first wave of the program:

Merchandise Mart, 222 West Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago

Harris Bank Building, 115 S. LaSalle Street, Chicago

540 W. Madison Street, Chicago

Equitable Building, 401 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago

150 N. Riverside Plaza, Chicago

311 South Wacker (Walgreens at 250 S Wacker Dr), Chicago

Wrigley Building, 400-410 North Michigan Avenue (Walgreens at 410 N Michigan Ave), Chicago

308 W. State Street, Rockford

1111 S. Alpine Road, Rockford

1061 American Lane, Schaumburg

Dates and times will be promoted in advance, which have been strategically chosen around shift changes to allow as many workers to take advantage of this opportunity as possible.

Illinois building operators interested in hosting additional clinics are encouraged to contact IDPH directly or contact the Building Owners and Managers Association.

Illinois is also supporting vaccination clinics for community organizations across the state such as churches and other religious organizations, neighborhood associations, mutual aid groups, nonprofits, immigrant service providers, and the like. Interested community organizations can sign up to host a clinic at no cost to them and IDPH will provide the staff and supplies. The interest form for this program can be found at www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/vaccinationclinics. To date, IDPH has completed 130 community vaccination clinics with more than 120 scheduled for the weeks ahead.

"Getting vaccinated is the right thing to do so that our lives can return to normal," said SEIU Local 1 janitor Slawomira Chamiga, who cleans at 30 S. Wacker. "I urge every essential worker to protect themselves and their families with a COVID-19 vaccine."

"SEIU Local 1 is working hard to connect members with the educational resources and vaccination opportunities so they can get protected from COVID-19," said SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff. "Frontline essential janitors and security officers are the key to putting our economy on the path to recovery, and this effort will help them protect their families and communities."

"With enhanced air quality and ventilation, advanced cleanliness procedures, and reconfigurations, our buildings have been prepared to welcome tenants back to the office for over a year," said Farzin Parang, BOMA/Chicago Executive Director. "We are proud to contribute to the vaccination effort to ensure a safe return to downtown and help revitalize our economy."

"The commercial office building owners and managers of suburban Chicago appreciate the opportunity to partner with the state and to bring vaccinations directly to our tenants and our staffs," said Michael P. Mulcrone, BOMA/Suburban Chicago Executive Director. "BOMA/Suburban Chicago's members have been working tirelessly to keep our buildings open, clean, healthy, and safe. We look forward to welcoming you back."

"Putting Walgreens pharmacists in Loop office buildings will make it even more convenient for those coming into work to get a vaccination with no appointment, and that's why we are pleased to partner with Governor Pritzker and the Buildings Owners and Managers Association of Chicago on this innovative approach to increase accessibility to vaccinations for those working in the Loop," said Rina Shah, group vice president, Pharmacy Operations and Services, Walgreens.


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