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Bears urging people to get COVID-19 vaccine

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In the ongoing battle against the coronavirus, the Bears are encouraging people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Earlier this month, they partnered with Advocate Aurora Health to offer the vaccine to players, coaches and staff at Halas Hall. One of the players who received the first of two shots was offensive lineman Cody Whitehair.

"Huge thanks to the Bears and Advocate for giving us the opportunity to be vaccinated right here at Halas Hall," Whitehair said. "It's important that as many people get fully vaccinated as possible so we can get back to normal and hopefully have a stadium full of fans at Soldier Field this fall."

On Monday, the Bears joined Chicago's other pro sports teams and the city's Department of Public Health in announcing a campaign to encourage Chicago sports fans and others to "Join the Team" by getting their COVID-19 vaccine.

"One of the most exciting parts about our city beginning to reopen is being able to safely bring sports fans back into the stands to cheer on our teams," said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "This campaign will not only encourage even more of our residents to get their vaccine, but also bring us closer together as one home team as we continue our fight against COVID-19. It is my hope and expectation that our residents, especially those who love sports, take this as their sign to get vaccinated so we can all get back to beloved Chicago pastimes."

Involving the Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, Fire, Red Stars, Sky and White Sox, the campaign centers around the influence of sports teams, their players and mascots to unify people across the city and join the growing number of Chicagoans who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Kicking off Monday, the campaign will utilize digital and out-of-home billboards around Chicago, social media channels and additional supporting elements to reiterate information about COVID-19 vaccines and connect residents to locations where they are available.

"With adults across the country now eligible for the vaccine, we strongly encourage all Chicagoans to get vaccinated as soon as possible," said Bears Chairman George H. McCaskey. "Words can't fully express how much we are looking forward to safely welcoming Bears fans back to Soldier Field this season. The vaccine is our ticket to making that happen, so join the team and Bear Down!"

Due to improvement in reopening metrics and the ongoing distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine—two million doses administered in the city and counting—the City of Chicago entered the Chicago Bridge Phase on Friday, May 14. This allows for an extensive expansion of capacity limits across industries, including large indoor venues to operate at 60 percent capacity.

Under the Chicago Bridge Phase, outdoor venues like Guaranteed Rate Field and Wrigley Field increase their attendance capacity from 25 percent to 60 percent, so even more Chicagoans can enjoy a day at the ballpark. Guaranteed Rate Field will increase capacity beginning May 24. Wrigley Field will increase capacity beginning May 28.

Getting vaccinated helps reduce the spread of the disease and protects Chicagoans from getting seriously sick with COVID-19—and protects their families, friends, and community. The recent expansion of the vaccine eligibility for youth age 12 to 15 means families can again safely create memories at sporting events. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and is available at locations across the city. Find vaccines at ZocDoc.com/vaccine or by calling 312-746-4835.

Vaccinations are offered at no cost. City-operated vaccination sites offering Pfizer are available to individuals 12 and older—with or without an appointment. For the latest information on Chicago's COVID-19 vaccine strategy, visit www.chicago.gov/covidvax.

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