Outreach workers in Hegewisch work to combat vaccine misinformation

60633 zip code has one of Chicago's lowest vaccination rates
CHICAGO (WLS) -- There are new concerns tonight over low COVID-19 vaccination rates in two Chicago zip codes. Health experts say the delta variant that's causing a lot of new COVID-19 cases is a serious risk to people who are not vaccinated.

As of Wednesday, 57.4% percent of all Chicago residents have gotten at least one dose, and just over 51% are now fully vaccinated. But the rate is much lower in two zip codes: 60633 and 60621.

SEE ALSO | Chicago COVID vaccine map shows how many residents vaccinated by zip code

As people lined up for a food pantry, outreach workers passed out factual information about the vaccine Wednesday. It has been an ongoing and challenging effort in Chicago's 60633 zip code, where vaccination rates for one dose are 34.5% and only 29.8% for fully vaccinated residents, much lower than the city rates.

"We have our flyers that say 'this is what the vaccine does not contain," said Grace Garcia, Calumet Area Industrial Commission. "It got to the point, people were saying it has horse manure in it."

60633 residents Grace Garcia and Ted Stalnos head the Calumet Area Industrial Commission. The organization has been leading the efforts in trying to get more people vaccinated. They say correcting misinformation on social media is their biggest challenge.

"Instead of listening to Dr. Facebook and listening to the real health experts and scientists that have the info," Stalnos said.

The 60633 zip code includes the Far Southeast Side neighborhood of Hegewish, in Alderman Susan Sadlowski Garza's 10th Ward.

SEE ALSO | Rising COVID cases in Chicago could bring return of restrictions, mayor warns

"We've worked really hard to try to get the word out, we've done multiple vaccine events, we've worked with the UAW, " Sadlowski Garza said.

Garza believes the city and community organizations are doing all they can do. She said residents must do their part.

But, the alderman and organizations question how accurate the vaccination numbers are in 60633, because it also includes the Cook County town of Burnham and borders Indiana.

"Many, many people in this neighborhood, which is my neighborhood, Hegewish, went to Indiana and got vaccinated there," Stalnos said.

City vaccination rates only include people receiving the shot in the city. Either way, community groups in 60633 said they will continue to pound the payment to get more residents vaccinated.
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