CHICAGO (WLS) -- Rush University Medical Center teamed up with the PCC Community Wellness Center to vaccinate 1,200 Austin residents against COVID-19 starting Sunday.
More than 80 Rush volunteers came out Sunday to provide the vaccine from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The vaccination efforts will take place every Sunday until April 18 at the Catalyst Circle Rock Charter School.
Rush University Medical Center equity officer Dr. David Ansell said the initiative is part of the city's Chicago Plus program that focuses on the 15 hardest hit communities by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"High mortality rates, high hospitalization rates, and the vaccine is the only way that we're going to mitigate it," Dr. Ansell said.
PCC Community Wellness Center nurse Dorothy Jenkins said part of the burden in Austin is a dearth of places to get vaccinated.
"In this area, there's no Walgreens right on the corner," Jenkins said.
Austin resident Kenneth Thomas showed appreciation for the program.
RELATED: 1 year later, Auburn Gresham is among communities hit hardest by COVID-19 pandemic
"It's a great thing that, you know, that we can get it in the neighborhood. We didn't have to go a long way to get it," Kenneth said.
The PCC Community Wellness Center said Loretto Hospital sponsors similar events on Fridays and Saturdays through the same partnership. This efforts at Loretto Hospital will also run until April 18 at Amundsen Park.
There is no priority grouping for the sites and both offer vaccines to any Austin resident 18-years-old and over, according to the PCC Community Wellness Center.
"We think from an equity perspective, vaccinating in family units is the right approach, starting in these neighborhoods that have been the hardest hit but then ultimately moving to other neighborhoods," Dr. Ansell said.
To learn more about getting vaccinated, Austin residents can visit the Rush University website. They can also learn about PCC Community Wellness Center's COVID-19 efforts.
Rush University Medical Center, PCC Community Wellness center team up to offer COVID-19 vaccines to Austin residents