CHICAGO - There’s new campaign to boost vaccination rates in Chicago.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot says while Chicago’s rates are good, they could be better — especially in a handful of neighborhoods that are lagging behind.
"Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine," Mayor Lightfoot repeated for emphasis at an event in Englewood on Thursday. "We’ve got to get people vaccinated. We’ve gotta continue to push forward."
Lightfoot and other city leaders debuted a new public relations campaign called Protect Chicago 77.
That number is significant in two ways. There are 77 city neighborhoods, and it establishes a goal of a city-wide vaccination rate of 77% by the end of the year.
Right now Chicago’s COVID-19 vaccination rate stands at 72%.
"We will have made amazing progress," said Chicago Public Health Director Dr. Alison Arwady. "And we will be standing above most of the rest of the country."
But the vaccination rate in a number of Chicago neighborhoods continues to lag behind at 50% or less. Those neighborhoods include West Garfield Park, Englewood, Woodlawn and South Chicago.
The new campaign promises a ground level attack using neighborhood groups to go door to door to find those who for whatever reason remain unvaccinated.
"Meeting people where they are. Answering questions people have," said Sixth Ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer. "The hope is people will start understanding how important this is and will get the shot."
And in fact, a few got their first shot at Thursday's campaign kick off, including Cameisha Jackson, who said she was skittish about getting vaccination earlier.
"I just wanted to do research first. I was hearing a lot of naysayers so I was kind of debating," said Jackson.
According to Chicago’s Public Health department, people who are unvaccinated in Chicago are 15 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than somebody who is vaccinated.
Mayor Lightfoot said that statistic alone should prompt people to get the vaccine.
"Now folks if that doesn’t take your breath away, if that doesn’t make you have a sense of urgency about getting the vaccine, I don’t know what will," said Lightfoot.