Northeastern Illinois University is allowing Heartland Health Centers to utilize part of its Physical Education Complex to provide COVID-19 vaccinations for its current 27,000 patients, many of whom live on the North and Northwest sides of Chicago. Though there is a currently a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine and the doses are intended to go to existing Heartland Health Centers patients, the healthcare provider has created a vaccine survey form to allow non-Heartland Health Centers patients, including members of the Northeastern community, the chance to be put on a waitlist if they have extra doses or their supply increases.
“As a public university that serves a significant amount of populations hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, Northeastern Illinois University is dedicated to stopping the spread of COVID-19; not just at our University, but in the neighborhoods in which our students and employees live and work,” President Gloria J. Gibson said. “In allowing Heartland Health Centers to utilize part of our gymnasium to host their mass vaccination site, we are hopeful that more people will be inoculated and this pandemic will subside soon. Whether our students and employees are currently eligible to be vaccinated through Heartland or elsewhere, we strongly encourage all who are eligible to talk to their physicians and get the COVID-19 vaccine if they are able.”
The Heartland Health Centers COVID-19 vaccination site is scheduled to run from April 6 to June 18, 2021, and will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will administer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. This new partnership between Heartland Health Centers and Northeastern Illinois University will allow Heartland Health Centers to administer up to 1,500 COVID-19 vaccinations per week.
“Opening this site at Northeastern Illinois University is going to greatly expand access to all our patients and help them receive the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible,” said Heartland Health Centers’ vaccination point person Javonte Barber. “It is our hope that once we are able to vaccinate our current patients, we will then open up appointments to the community at large.”
When patients arrive on campus, they should look for Heartland Health Centers signage directing them to Parking Lot J, where they will be able to park free of charge while they are receiving their vaccine. Volunteers from Centro Romero, a community-based organization that serves the refugee immigrant population on the Northeast Side of Chicago, will help patients find their way to the vaccination site once they arrive on campus. All visitors to campus are kindly asked to follow all COVID-19 safety protocols Northeastern currently has in place to mitigate the spread of the virus on campus.
Existing Heartland Health Centers patients are being contacted by Heartland Health Centers to schedule vaccination appointments and are first contacting their current patients who are at the highest risk of COVID-19 complications. If and when Heartland Health Centers receives more doses of vaccines, Heartland Health Centers staff will reach out to more of their patients who are eligible for vaccination under the City of Chicago’s vaccination phase schedule. Under the current phase plan, all Chicagoans over the age of 16 are expected to become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in mid- to late April.