Officials increasing COVID-19 vaccine efforts in communities of color

Coronavirus

CHICAGO — More than $2 million shots of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Illinois since the rollout began, and there has big a real effort on getting shots out to communities of color.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city’s equity strategy is delivering results. In the past week, 50% of first doses were administered to Black and Latinx Chicagoans. However, Lightfoot and the city’s health commissioner acknowleged there’s a long way to go when it comes to closing racial equity gaps.

Lightfoot received her second shot at a Gage Park vaccination site which is a partnership between the city and Esperanza Health Center.

When the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines arrived in December, only 18% of shots were going into the arms in minorities.

Ilinois Department of Public Health data shows Blacks and Latinos are getting vaccinated at half the rate of white residents.

The mayor blames lack of access and lack of trust in communities of color. With the help of community organizations and clergy, the city is upping its game when it comes promoting the vaccine. It is boosting the number of vaccines sent to fifteen neighborhoods including Washington Heights, Little Village and Roseland.

Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said she’s confident the city will catch-up after thousands of appointments had to be canceled due to storm-related vaccine shipment delays. Some of the delayed doses were second doses.

Arwady says getting the second shot up weeks later than scheduled won’t make the vaccine less effective.

Despite the delays, Gov. JB Pritzker still expects the state to receive a half-million doses next week.

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