Chicago's Englewood neighborhood lags behind in city's COVID-19 vaccination effort

CHICAGO (WLS) -- George Bailey received his second dose Tuesday at the Oak Street Health Clinic in Englewood. While the 66 year old was eligible a few months ago, he admits it took him a while to finally get vaccinated.

"I thought the same thing like everybody else, I don't need it," said Bailey.

The inventive to see his grandchildren and great grandchildren is what made Bailey eager to finally get the shot. While 50 percent of Chicago residents have received at least one dose, the percentage is much lower in African-American zip codes. At only 28.2%, 60621 is the lowest in the city.

"We are finding more of our seniors stepping out to get the vaccine, how do we deliver the same sort message to our young folks," said Dr. Amish Desai of Oak Street Health.

With several vaccine opportunities along the 63rd Street corridor in the heart of Englewood, access is no longer an issue, it's convincing individual people to get it. Oak Street Health is finding peer-to-peer efforts are very effective.

"We have trained seven to eight of our own patients to be advocates in the community to deliver that message to get the shot," said Desai.

Deborah Payne is one of Oak Street's advocates. Armed with her iPad, she has signed up several residents but Payne admits there needs to be a better effort convincing young people in the 60621 zip code

"Being a Christian, I feel like our churches need to be more involved too," said Payne.

The city of Chicago is placing an extra effort in zip codes with low vaccination rates, holding vaccination events and sending out mobile buses.

"If you've got an idea where people are gathering, we're looking at at that and getting a lot of good leads, we will send a bus to you," said Dr. Allison Arwady, Comissioner, Chicago Dept. of Public Health.

Despite low vaccination rates in several zip codes, the city is aiming for the national goal of having 70% of people vaccinated by July.
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