Protect Chicago

Every single one of us needs to step up and ‘Protect Chicago’ right now. If we all step up to ‘Protect Chicago’, we can get back to doing the things we love. 

Equity drives all vaccine distribution in the City of Chicago. As we strive to vaccinate the entire city while faced with a limited supply of vaccine, our commitment to equity is more important than ever. Equity is not only part of our COVID-19 strategy, equity is our strategy.

  • The City has worked to enroll doctor's offices, hospitals, clinics, and FQHCs as vaccination sites in our hardest hit communities. We also provide additional support and outreach to healthcare providers in these communities to help them increase capacity to provide vaccination for the community.
  • We deploy vaccination strike teams prioritizing critical populations in these areas (e.g. seniors, congregate living settings, employers that have high outbreak rates). 
  • Additionally, we launched the Protect Chicago Plus program and will dedicate vaccine supply and additional resources to the 15 neighborhoods that have been most burdened by the COVID-19 pandemic based on the City’s COVID vulnerability index (CCVI), to get these communities at or above the Citywide vaccination rate.
Protect Chicago Plus

On January 25, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), announced Protect Chicago Plus, the plan guiding the City’s vaccine distribution to ensure that vaccine reaches the individuals and communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially Black and Latinx residents. It includes three main strategies:

  1. 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.
  2. Push 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.
  3. Work 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.

Here’s what you need to do to ‘Protect Chicago’ right now:

  • Geting back to normal is going to take all our tools:
    • Stay 6 ft away from others, and avoid crowds and gatherings  
    • Wear your mask 
    • Wash your hands often 
    • Get vaccinated when it’s your turn
  • Sign up to volunteer on the Protect Chicago digital team:
    • Use your personal social media networks to spread the word
    • Send text messages to fellow Chicagoans
    • Sign up to Volunteer 

Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Equity is not only part of our COVID-19 strategy, equity is our strategy."
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Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Protect Chicago Plus Map: The neighborhoods initially targeted in Protect Chicago Plus are West Englewood, New City, Gage Park, North Lawndale, South Lawndale, Chicago Lawn, Englewood, Roseland, Archer Heights, Washington Heights, Austin, Montclare, South Deering, Belmont Cragin and Humboldt Park.

The neighborhoods initially targeted in Protect Chicago Plus are West Englewood, Gage Park, North Lawndale, Chicago Lawn, Englewood, Roseland, Archer Heights, Washington Heights, Austin, Montclare, South Deering, Belmont Cragin, Humboldt Park, Little Village, and Back of the Yards.

Review Chicago's Equity data on the Chicago.gov/COVIDvax.

Frequently Asked Questions

Download the Frequently Asked Questions for Protect Chicago Plus - last updated February 12, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions (English)

Frequently Asked Questions (Spanish)

Protect Chicago Plus is a targeted vaccine distribution program designed to ensure vaccine reaches the individuals and communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It relies on three primary strategies:

  1. Dedicate vaccine supply and additional resources to the 15 neighborhoods that have been most burdened by the COVID-19 pandemic based on the City’s COVID vulnerability index (CCVI), to get these communities at or above the Citywide vaccination rate.
  2. Partner with local community stakeholders to develop tailored vaccination and engagement strategies to help community residents get vaccinated. Strategies include dedicated community vaccine clinics, outreach teams, and special events, to reach deeply into communities and touch those who may be disconnected from more traditional vaccine administration channels.
  3. Ensure vaccine gets to the people who need it most within each community by removing any and all barriers to vaccinating as many people as we can, even if this means accelerating through the phases. In addition to the priority groups identified in 1a, 1b, and 1c, other groups, as identified by local community leaders, will be eligible to get vaccinated too. 

Protect Chicago Plus is our chance to both change the map and end the pandemic. By dedicating resources and vaccine supply to increase vaccine uptake in the hardest hit communities, we also reduce COVID-19 spread across all of Chicago and can reopen more quickly and safely.

The first 15 community areas that are being targeted through Protect Chicago Plus are Archer Heights, Austin, Back of the Yards, Belmont Cragin, Chicago Lawn, Englewood, Gage Park, Humboldt Park, Little Village, Montclare, North Lawndale, Roseland, South Deering, Washington Heights, and West Englewood.

These were the communities that ranked highest on the City’s COVID Vulnerability Index (CCVI), which uses metrics to identify communities that are most burdened by COVID during the pandemic and are uniquely vulnerable to barriers to COVID-19 vaccine uptake.

Within each community, the City will partner with anchor organizations to create a neighborhood task force made up of diverse stakeholders, including grassroot activist organizations, local businesses, faith leaders and local community health providers, such as federally qualified health centers (FQHCs).

The City will work with each task force to establish a dedicated vaccination strategy for their community, which will include a fixed vaccination site and special vaccine events, hosted by trusted community institutions. The City will arrange to set up one temporary community vaccination clinic, operated by a healthcare partner, to support a surge of vaccine supply. The City will allocate additional vaccine doses for mobile vaccine events in the community each week.

Within each community, the City will partner with community-based organizations and local leaders to identify unique opportunities to share information and assist with vaccination appointment scheduling. This will include things like door-to-door outreach; face-to-face outreach in grocery stores, laundromats, and other high-traffic areas; phone and text banking and more.

With Protect Chicago Plus we are aiming at getting the communities that have endured the heaviest burden of COVID-19 at or above the Citywide vaccination rate. Our goal is to vaccinate as many community members as we can by removing any and all barriers, even if this means accelerating through the phases. By increasing vaccine uptake in the hardest hit communities, we reduce the risk of further COVID-19 spread across all of Chicago.

Protect Chicago Plus communities will be activated in phases over the next six to eight weeks. Each neighborhood campaign is expected to last eight weeks. The preliminary schedule is:

  • Belmont Cragin (early February)
  • Little Village, Gage Park, North Lawndale (mid-February)
  • Montclare, Englewood, West Englewood (mid to late February)
  • Austin, Back of the Yards, Archer Heights (early March)
  • Roseland, Washington Heights, South Deering (mid-March)
  • Humboldt Park, Chicago Lawn (late March)

Protect Chicago Plus is a continuation of the Protect Chicago initiative, which was launched in November 2020 to mitigate a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Chicago, building on successful get-out-the-vote and census efforts. As part of the initiative, community-based organizations, and volunteers that have knocked on more than 400,000 doors in our hardest-hit areas, linking people to information, testing, and now to vaccine and other resources.

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 impacted by COVID-19.


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Download the online toolkit

( English | Spanish )

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Download the street toolkit

( English | Spanish )