Chicago (CBS) — Citing delayed vaccination rates in many Chicago zip codes, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Thursday a “modest goal” to have at least 77% of the city’s population at least partially vaccinated by the end of the year.
“We must do more to protect our residents and we are committed to doing just that,” said Lightfoot. “The COVID-19 pandemic is still with us, it is still here. The Delta variant is still very present and deadly. So we are not out of the woods by any stretch of our imagination. ”
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The mayor said he would like to see at least 77% of Chicagoans aged 12 and over receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year. It also set an “extension target” to ensure that at least 77% of eligible Chicagoans are fully vaccinated by the end of the year.
As of Thursday, approximately 1.6 million people in Chicago, or 72.4% of the population aged 12 and over, had received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to Lightfoot.
“This is incredible progress, but not enough,” the mayor said.
The 77% goal is not a random number. It matches the number of official community spaces in Chicago.
Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. “We’re making really good progress against COVID in Chicago, and it’s thanks to the way our 77 community is accelerating,” Allison Arwady said. “The reason we’ve pinned 77% as a target here isn’t that 77% is a magic number for achieving herd immunity, but that 77 reflects the community.”
Called Protect Chicago 77, city officials will launch a new marketing campaign to urge unvaccinated Chicagoans to get their vaccinations. The city will also work with community groups in each neighborhood to help develop targeted vaccination strategies to help people in each community get vaccinated.
The city will also produce a series of videos to help vaccinated people persuade their unvaccinated family and friends to get vaccinated.
“I don’t want you to think we’re out of vaccinations in Chicago because that’s how we’re going to spend the winter. We’re not done with COVID. I wish we were,” Arwady said.
Arwady said that in the past week, every neighborhood in Chicago has exceeded the 50% limit for vaccination among people 12 and older.
However, Lightfoot noted that in some neighborhoods the all-age vaccination rate remains below 50%.
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“Every single unvaccinated person in these zip codes is at extreme risk if we don’t make giant strides forward,” he said.
The lowest overall vaccination rates in Chicago are in the Englewood, South Chicago, and Woodlawn neighborhoods, where the rate is only 42% or 43%.
Arwady and Lightfoot said it’s neighborhoods like those where increasing vaccination rates are most important because they’re at risk of serious consequences from COVID-19.
“The neighborhoods that are furthest from growth will most help us meet that 77%,” Arwady said.
Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6NS), said that getting vaccinated isn’t just about protecting yourself, it’s about protecting others, especially those who can’t be vaccinated, such as vaccinated children or immunocompromised people.
“If you can’t find a needle for yourself, pull for someone you love, pull for someone you care about because it’s not just about you, it’s about keeping everyone safe,” she said.
Lightfoot noted that people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 are 15 times more likely to die from the virus than someone who has been vaccinated. He said the number has increased significantly among the Black and Latino populations, especially for people between the ages of 50 and 60.
The mayor said that among Blacks and Latinos aged 50 to 60, the probability of death from COVID-19 is about 50% if they are not vaccinated.
“I don’t want people to play with their lives, and that’s how I feel when I see these numbers every week,” he said.
Lightfoot said he is encouraging that most people in Chicago who have not yet been vaccinated are not strictly against getting vaccinated. The poll said a very small percentage of unvaccinated Chicagoans said they would never receive the vaccine, while the vast majority had questions about the vaccine or needed to take the time to get their vaccinations, he said.
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“They are not strictly against the vaccine. “So I want to make sure that this point is clear, that we have a real opportunity to continue this outreach, to reach people and bring them this life-saving vaccine.”