CHICAGO (TBEN) – Citing late vaccination rates in many Chicago zip codes, Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday announced a “modest goal” to have at least 77% of the city’s population at least partially vaccinated by the end of the year. ‘year.
“We need to do more to protect our residents, and we are committed to doing it,” Lightfoot said. “The COVID-19 pandemic is still with us, it is still here. The Delta variant is still very much present, and it is deadly. So, we did not come out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination.
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The mayor said she would like to see at least 77% of Chicagoans aged 12 and over receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year. It has also set itself an “ambitious goal” to have at least 77% of eligible Chicagoans vaccinated by the end of the year.
About 1.6 million people in Chicago, or 72.4% of the population aged 12 and over, received at least one dose of the vaccine on Thursday, according to Lightfoot.
“It is incredible progress, but it is not enough,” said the mayor.
The 77% target is not a random number. It corresponds to the number of official community zones in Chicago.
“We’ve made really good progress in Chicago against COVID, and that’s because of how our 77 communities have grown,” said Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. “The reason we set 77% as the goal here is not that 77% is a magic number in terms of collective immunity, but it reflects those 77 communities.”
Dubbed the Protect Chicago 77, city officials will launch a new marketing campaign to call on unvaccinated Chicagoans to get vaccinated. The city will also work with community groups in each neighborhood to help develop targeted vaccination strategies to help people in each community get vaccinated.
The city will also produce a series of videos to help people who have been vaccinated convince their unvaccinated family and friends to get vaccinated.
“I don’t want you to think that we are done vaccinating here in Chicago, because this is how we will spend the winter. We are not done with COVID. I wish we were, ”Arwady said.
Arwady said that over the past week, every Chicago neighborhood has surpassed the 50% mark for vaccinations for people 12 and older.
However, Lightfoot noted that the vaccination rate for all ages in some neighborhoods remains below 50%.
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“If we don’t take giant strides there, every unvaccinated person in these zip codes is at extreme risk,” she said.
The lowest overall vaccination rates in Chicago are found in the Englewood, South Chicago, and Woodlawn neighborhoods, where the rate is only 42% or 43%.
Arwady and Lightfoot said these are neighborhoods like where it is most important to increase vaccination rates because they are at greater risk of serious consequences from COVID-19.
“It’s the neighborhoods that have the most growth that will help us reach that 77% the most,” said Arwady.
Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6e), who chairs the city council’s health committee, said getting vaccinated is not just about protecting yourself, but protecting others, especially those who cannot get vaccinated, such as children who are not eligible for vaccines or immunocompromised people.
“If you don’t get the vaccine for yourself, get it for someone you love, get it for someone you care about, because it’s not just about you, it’s about you. ‘It’s about everyone’s safety,’ he said.
Lightfoot noted that people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 are 15 times more likely to die from the virus than someone who is vaccinated. She said the number is increasing dramatically among black and Latino populations, especially for those between the ages of 50 and 60.
The mayor said that among blacks and Latinos between the ages of 50 and 60, the chance of death from COVID-19 if they are not vaccinated is around 50%.
“I don’t want people playing with their lives, and that’s how I feel when I see these numbers every week,” she said.
Lightfoot said she was encouraged that most of the people in Chicago who haven’t yet been vaccinated are not categorically against the vaccine. She said polls show that a very small percentage of unvaccinated Chicagoans have said they will never take the vaccine, while the vast majority simply have questions about the vaccine or need to take the time to get the vaccine.
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“They are not rigidly against the vaccine. So I want to make sure that this point is clear and clear, that there is a real opportunity for us to continue this awareness, to reach people and to bring them this vaccine which saves lives ”, she said. declared.