Chicago has launched a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan that partners with community organizations to get vaccinations to people in the 15 communities most impacted by the pandemic. The plan, called Protect Chicago Plus, takes an urgent approach to rolling out the vaccine.
Carmen Vergara, chief operations officer of Esperanza Health Centers, says that the plan bypasses the phased approach and untethers health care from employment.
“When it’s tied to your employment you leave out a lot of people,” Vergara said. “So people who are part-time workers who don’t have health insurance through their employer, or people who are unemployed or primarily work in the home.”
Vergara says the organizations Esperanza is partnering with are using a variety of methods to contact people to receive vaccinations, including phone calls, text messages and door-to-door canvassing.
“We’re hoping to change the color of the map … that map of Chicago that always highlights disparities on the Southwest Side,” Vergara said. “We’re hoping for equity to be the ultimate outcome of this process.”