Forest Park mayor Rory Hoskins listens to Gov. Pritzker speak on Monday, March 22, 2021, during a press conference at the new mass Covid-19 vaccination site at the former HOBO building on Roosevelt Road. | Alex Rogals/Staff Photographer

This article was edited on March 25 to reflect updated hours of operation.

The site of the former Hobo store, 7630 Roosevelt Rd., will be turned into the one of the biggest COVID-19 vaccination sites in the state on March 26, offering 1,000 shots per day to start, Monday through Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The site will be operated by the Cook County Department of Public Health and staffed by the Illinois Guard.

Gov. J. B. Pritzker, Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County board president, Chris Welch, speaker of the Illinois house, State Sen. Kimberly Lightford and other state and local leaders, including Forest Park Mayor Rory Hoskins, spoke at a press conference Monday morning in Forest Park at the new vaccination site.

“Starting Friday, this location which will be able to administer up to 1,000 doses per day at launch, and then over 2,000 soon after, and it will serve as yet another mass vaccination site open to all eligible residents, no matter their zip code, with ample parking and close proximity to communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pritzker said during the press conference. “This site will play a critical role in our continued efforts to vaccinate our most vulnerable residents, such as those with preexisting conditions.”

Pritzker said the state is putting “laser focus on equity and accessibility, prioritizing locations and communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. With this location in Forest Park, we have now strategically established three of our largest mass vaccination sites open to all eligible Illinoisians at Tinley Park in the southwest, this location in the western suburbs and Desplaines in the northwest.”

Giving a special shout-out to Welch, Pritzker called him a “critical partner in advocating for this location.”

Welch talked about the impact COVID-19 has had on families over the past year, separating people from family and friends, causing loss of jobs and affecting children’s education.

Chris Welch, IL House speaker, talks to the press on Monday, March 22, 2021, during a press conference at the new mass Covid-19 vaccination site at the former HOBO building on Roosevelt Road. | Alex Rogals, Staff Photographer

“And we know that, unfortunately, the compounded disparities across our healthcare system have meant Black and Brown communities have borne the brunt of this,” Welch said. “But despite the struggles, we are on the verge of putting this virus in check.”

“We are excited to do our part in the effort to crush this virus,” Hoskins said during the press conference.

The site, which opens on Friday, will have private armed security around the clock.

The new COVID-19 vaccination site at the old HOBO building on Roosevelt Road in Forest Park. | Alex Rogals, Staff Photographer

Forest Park will provide a firefighter during hours of operation to ensure communications for emergency medical aid can be made promptly. Forest Park police will provide extra security. Although the village will pay for these personnel to staff and monitor the vaccine site, Hoskins said “county officials have strongly suggested that the village will be reimbursed for the cost.”

Village Administrator Tim Gillian said the site will be a convenient location for Forest Park residents to get vaccinated.

Appointments will be required; no walk-ups will be permitted. It is uncertain at this time which manufacturer’s vaccine will be administered at this site.

Appointments can be made at vaccine.cookcountyil.gov or by calling 833-308-1988.