CHICAGO - Following a tour Thursday of the mass vaccination site at Chicago State University, U.S. Congressman Bobby Rush urged Illinois residents to get vaccinated.
Rush also took part in a virtual panel with local public health experts to discuss reports over the past week of an "unprecedented drop" in Americans getting vaccinated.
Some believe it is a worrying sign that not enough Americans are getting the shot, and that herd immunity may never be reached.
"The only way that we are going to beat this pandemic is for you to join me in getting the vaccine," Rush said. "Stop playing Russian roulette with your grandparents and your aunts and uncles and your mothers and your daddies, stop playing Russian roulette with their lives and your lives. Get your shot. Get your vaccine."
The virtual panel discussion focused on the effects of COVID-19 on Black Americans and their concerns regarding vaccines.
"If we were giving away Chicken McNuggets here tonight, the hall would be overflowing. And most of you who would be there don’t know what is in that Chicken McNugget. You trust McDonald's," Rush said. "You ought to trust our doctors who are telling you that the only way we can [beat] this pandemic and stop our loved ones and neighbors, our loved ones from dying from this dreaded disease is that you and I get our vaccine."
Dr. Daria Terrell is the Director of Clinical Programming and Health Outcomes at St. Bernard Hospital in Englewood on the South Side.
"1 out of 800 African Americans died to COVID, compared to 1 in 1,300 of their white counterparts," she said. "We know that as African Americans, we often are the victims of undertreatment, so we’re not treated with the same regiments, we’re not offered the same treatments as other Americans in this country. And we also don’t always have access to the same quality of care. And I will suggest to you… that this vaccine represents one moment in our time, one moment in our history where for once, we have the opportunity to get quality care. We have the opportunity to get top-of-the-line treatment for a problem."
All Illinois residents age 16 and up are now eligible for the vaccine.
In addition, experts say that in order to reach herd immunity, between 70 and 90 percent of the population must become fully vaccinated.