CHICAGO (AP) – Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot received a COVID-19 vaccine shot Monday as Illinois touted online signups and efforts to address racial equity at the start of its latest vaccination phase covering essential workers and residents ages 65 and older.
The newest round of vaccinations, following health care workers and nursing home residents, covers about 3.2 million people including grocery store workers, teachers and public transit employees. Health officials unveiled a new state website for online signups but cautioned that Illinoisans will face wait times due to limited supplies. The next phase is expected to last about two months.
Chicago public health officials said early vaccination data shows alarming racial disparities.
In response, Lightfoot announced that Chicago would focus outreach on 15 communities with large Black and Latino populations that have been particularly vulnerable, including by working with community groups.
“We cannot build a more equitable and inclusive city if huge swaths of our residents are left behind,” she said after receiving her first vaccine dose at a South Side hospital alongside other Black leaders who said it is important to demonstrate that the vaccinations are safe.
Illinois has received more than 1.6 million doses. Nearly 700,000 have been administered. In Chicago, health officials said 1 in 25 residents has received a vaccine, but among Latinos the rate was 1 in 45 and among Black Chicagoans it was 1 in 53.
As Illinois’ coronavirus test positivity rate falls, state officials have announced further loosening of coronavirus restrictions. State officials announced Monday that dozens of counties in northwestern Illinois will be allowed to offer limited indoor dining, among other things, after the Chicago area began allowing it over the weekend.
Also Monday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,944 additional confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and 49 more deaths. Overall, Illinois has logged more than 1.1 million infections and nearly 19,000 deaths.
Follow Sophia Tareen on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiatareen.
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.