Hundreds receive COVID-19 shots at Pilsen vaccination event

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Hundreds of people received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Pilsen Sunday.

"It's a follow-up event to the largest vaccination events, geared towards teens, the city has had," said Karina Ayala-Bermejo, president and CEO at Instituto del Progreso Latino.

RELATED: Chicago takes new approach to vaccinate hard-to-reach residents as mass vaccination sites close

Ayala-Bermejo said over 500 people were back to get their second Pfizer dose Sunday and another 100 people receiving their first shots.

The focus is to ensure the immigrant community has access.

"We are hardest hit by COIVD, right, so we want to make sure that the vaccines come to use," Ayala-Bermejo said.

The event was specifically meant to reach young people, just as the city prepares to fully reopen with summer fun heating up.

RELATED: Chicago reopening: City moving to Phase 5 with rest of Illinois, Mayor Lightfoot says

"We know that this is a population that may not think that they're vulnerable, but they are," Ayala-Bermejo said. "You're going to have concerts, are going to have summer gatherings. You want to protect your grandparents right, you want to protect your family, so we're encouraging vaccination as families.

Ayala-Bermejo's 16-year-old son, Elijah Bermejo, got his second shot Sunday morning. The experience was liberating for him.

"Now, I feel free. It's a, it's a feeling of relief that I can finally be happy, be with other people, connect with other people," Elijah said.

RELATED: 'Vax and Relax' kicks off this weekend with free haircuts for COVID-19 shots

Elijah said he works to convince his friends to get vaccinated as well. He believes education and awareness about the shots can make a difference.

"It's our duty to protect and serve people that don't have the ability to get the vaccine," Elijah said.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.