Visit to the City of Chicago’s Vaccine Operations Center

Start Date: 05/26/2021


IL Teams were invited by the City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) to do a stress-relief visit for the people currently staffing the city’s Vaccine Operations Center (approximately 40-50 staffers). This group started in December of 2020 to plan and manage the city’s COVID-19 vaccine efforts. The duration of the center is open-ended and the operations continue to be extended, which caused them to indicate that they might want to have us back for another visit to the center. The center is currently housed in event spaces in the Harold Washington Library Center, which is the main library within the Chicago Public Library system. Our teams were stationed in a medium-sized event area where people came to us, but we also were able to do a walk-thru of the main office space in the Winter Garden area to visit with more staff members. The dogs all did well spending time with their visitors in a relaxed setting.

As we were parting ways, they mentioned that the OEMC office also runs the city’s 911 dispatch center and brought up the possibility of having HOPE teams visit there in the near future. I assured him that we would be very open to setting up a date or two for that type of event for our teams.

While we were doing our walk-thru in the office space, we were introduced to the person who is currently handling vaccine special events. She immediately asked if we might have teams available for a teen-focused vaccine event on Sunday, 6/13/21 and she has already reached out to me via e-mail with further information about the event.

Lastly, because we were in the main library, many of the librarians in the building were very excited to hear from the operations center people that our dogs were on-site and also stopped to visit our teams. As we were about to leave the operations center, we met a member of the Chicago Public Library’s administration staff. While she was greeting our teams, she inquired about who she could reach out to regarding teams for reading events, which allowed us to give her a better explanation of what HOPE AACR does. She then pivoted to mention that they do have trauma groups that meet in the some of the neighborhood libraries, and we agreed that might be something we could explore for a potential HOPE partnership.

Agency: City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications

Terri Rafter & Sweetie, Cathy Barnes & Anela, Julie Bereckis & Deke, Shay Jacobson & Tazer