Chicago has moved to phase 1B of vaccine distribution, which includes people 65 and over and many essential workers. While some people are jumping at the chance to get the two shots, concern remains over misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine, especially among African Americans. The Westside Health Authority’s Good Neighbor Campaign held a meeting last week aimed at debunking misinformation and encouraging Austin residents to get vaccinated as soon as they can.
State Rep. La Shawn Ford shares this information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the COVID-19 vaccines are given to healthcare personnel and nursing home residents. Essential workers and those 75 years and older will be able to get the shots next.
The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to be administered in Chicago were given at The Loretto Hospital Tuesday morning. Mayor Lightfoot hailed it as a milestone, but officials caution Chicago isn’t out of the woods yet. Also this week, Loretto announced it will be launching a coronavirus vaccine trial with a focus on minority populations. To learn more, tune in early next month to a virtual town hall the hospital will be holding.
At a community meeting hosted last weekend by state Rep. La Shawn Ford, community members discussed concerns they have about e-learning and the opioid crisis, which is hitting the West Side even harder this year than in 2019.
If two key federal agencies approve the vaccines in coming days, as expected, Chicago would receive its first doses of Pfizer’s vaccine as early as next week and Moderna’s the week after, a local health official told members of the Leaders Network. Members of the group asked what the city is doing to build confidence and trust among the African American community to take the vaccine. Chicago health officials are reaching out to community ambassadors, partners and organizations, incudling churches on the West Side, to help educate residents and encourage them to get vaccinated.
Many in the African American and Latinx communities remain wary of immunization and the medical establishment at large, writes state Rep. La Shawn Ford. That’s why “we have to make sure that people trust the vaccine will work, and we need to do everything that we can to bring an understanding to our community about how important it is to take the vaccine and to be able to trust it,” Ford says.