On Jan. 25, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), alongside elected officials and community partners, announced new initiatives to address racial equity in the COVID-19 response and vaccine distribution, with early data estimates demonstrating low vaccination rates among Black and Latinx Chicagoans.
As Chicago moves into Phase 1b of the vaccination effort, city leaders outlined further efforts to bolster the equity plan to ensure that vaccines reach the individuals and communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city launched a new Protect Chicago Plus program that includes three main strategies:
Targeting 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;
Pushing 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; and
Working 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.
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.
Many of the healthcare partners who are vaccinating people throughout Chicago often do not collect race/ethnicity data when doing so, and in response Dr. Arwady has signed a health order requiring them to do so and to report that data in to CDPH. In order to better understand these important measures, CDPH has performed statistical modeling, or data imputation, that creates estimates for the missing data. These estimates of the race/ethnicity of individuals who have received a first dose of the vaccine are as follows: Latinx 17%; Black, non-Latinx 15%; White, non-Latinx 53%; Asian, non-Latinx 14%; other, non-Latinx 0.4%; and unknown 7%.
Additional information can be found at Chicago.gov/covidvax .