CHICAGO - Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) joined staff from the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood today to host the first COVID-19 vaccination event under the city’s Protect Chicago Plus initiative, which is designed to ensure equity in vaccine distribution. Lurie’s clinicians were providing vaccine to over 250 daycare and childcare providers from the community at Northwest Community Church in partnership with CDPH
, Northwest Side Housing Center, volunteers organized by the office of Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th
) and other Belmont Cragin community partners.
“This event is a great example of our work with trusted community partners to lower the barriers to vaccination and deliver the vaccine to communities most impacted by the outbreak,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “We know residents of Belmont Cragin have endured a heavy burden from COVID-19, that’s why we’re prioritizing this community, as well as our other Protect Chicago Plus communities.”
CDPH partnered with Lurie Children’s to help vaccinate these childcare providers who have been caring for babies and children throughout the pandemic so their parents could continue to work. Lurie Children’s offered to pilot a pop-up vaccination clinic prioritizing staff from smaller childcare centers and home daycares.
In order to reach these individuals, Lurie Children’s partnered with Northwest Side Housing Center, the 36th Ward, and other community partners in Belmont Cragin. These community leaders made phone calls and rang doorbells to educate local daycare/childcare staff about the importance of being vaccinated and the opportunity to schedule an appointment to receive the vaccination from Lurie Children’s in their community.
Lurie Children’s Hospital has been working with community leaders and organizations in Belmont Cragin for several years to advance health equity, provide health education, and promote resilience in this community.
“This is a great example of how the City, healthcare providers and community organizations can work together to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to the most at-risk individuals in our communities,” said Mary Kate Daly, Vice President of the Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities at Lurie Children’s. “There is no way we would have been able to identify, educate and engage more than 250 daycare and childcare providers in less than a week – we relied on the outstanding leaders and community organizations in Belmont Cragin to make that happen.”
CDPH allocated up to 300 doses of the Moderna vaccine for this event, and an additional 300 doses on March 6 so Lurie Children’s can come back to the same location to administer the second dose.
“These childcare and day care providers are truly essential to our City and I want to thank them for stepping up and getting the vaccine to protect themselves, their families and their communities,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “This is just the start of the robust Protect Chicago Plus plan and we look forward to many more such events in the coming weeks and months.”
Protect Chicago has been the guiding plan in the City’s response to the pandemic, and recently the City launched the Protect Chicago Plus program to guide vaccine distribution and ensure vaccine reaches communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan includes three main strategies:
- One, it targets 15 high-need communities based on the City’s COVID vulnerability index, to ensure that a significant part of the City’s vaccine supply goes to these communities.
- Two, it pushes vaccine and City resources directly to these communities, partnering with community stakeholders to develop tailored engagement strategies, vaccine clinics and strike teams to reach deep into the communities and touch those who may be disconnected from more traditional vaccine administration channels.
- Three, it works with community stakeholders to identify settings and groups where vaccine access will most quickly decrease COVID transmission risk and removes barriers to vaccinating these individuals as quickly as possible.
Protect Chicago Plus builds on the work of Mayor Lightfoot’s Racial Equity Rapid Response Team, an initiative that was integral to the city in deploying resources to the communities most in need throughout the pandemic. The program includes partnerships with community-based organizations and social service agencies, faith communities, and City Council members to host vaccination events.