CCOK COUNTY, Ill. - Cook County health officials will prioritize coronavirus vaccine appointments in more than two dozen of the hardest-hit suburbs to ensure equal access to the life-saving shots.
The 32 suburbs given high priority for shots were predominantly communities of color in the west and south suburbs, the Cook County Department of Public Health announced Friday.
The department used two risk-factor indexes to identify the municipalities most adversely impacted by COVID-19. Those indexes — the COVID-19 Vulnerability Index and Social Vulnerability Index — considered factors including socioeconomic, household composition and disability, minority status and language.
Residents can register for an appointment online at vaccine.cookcountyil.gov.
The health department’s senior medical officer Dr. Kiran Joshi said there’s a "well-deserved distrust in government and health care systems because of historically racist practices."
"This means we simply have to work harder to earn back that trust," Joshi said in the statement. "Our goal is not just herd immunity, but to do an even better job in communities of color and traditionally underserved regions of our county."
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said the the county remains committed to distributing the vaccine in an equitable way, "with an emphasis on communities that have been most dramatically impacted by COVID."
About 70% of those 65 and older in suburban Cook County have received at least one vaccine dose, the health department said. On Monday, suburban Cook County will move to phase 1b+ of the vaccine rollout, which includes individuals 16 years and older with underlying health conditions.
The 32 communities given high priority are:
- Blue Island
- Calumet City
- Calumet Park
- Chicago Heights
- Chicago Ridge
- Franklin Park
- Harwood Heights
- Merrionette Park
- South Chicago Heights
- South Holland
- Stone Park