CHICAGO (CBS) — One thousand South Side residents are getting vaccinated at the Pullman Community Center on Tuesday as part of a push to get shots into the arms of those in communities highly affected by COVID-19.
The hope is to build momentum from these numbers.READ MORE: Chicago Undercover Police Officer, Sergeant Honored For 'High Level Of Professionalism'
More than 4 million Illinois residents have gotten a COVID-19 shot so far, and the state is now averaging more than 100,000 vaccinations per day.
CBS 2’s Mugo Odigwe reports 1,000 people signed up to get the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday at the Pullman Community Center. The need is so great, all available slots already have been filled.
Kenneth Mays said he was feeling great, for so many reasons, after getting the shot Tuesday morning.
“Because I’ll be able to maneuver a little bit more out in public,” he said.
Arnita Rainey said she felt blessed to get the vaccine.
“I mean, it’s needed. We already know the death rates and everything,” she said.READ MORE: Naperville District 203 Among Suburban High Schools Dealing With Spikes In COVID-19
Residents of the 9th Ward, which includes the Pullman and Roseland neighborhoods, were the target of the push to get 1,000 people vaccinated at the Pullman Community Center on Tuesday.
Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) said his ward was excluded when the United Center mass vaccination site started limiting appointments to people who live in nine ZIP codes on the South and West sides, because they have been hit especially hard by the pandemic and have low vaccination rates.
“They were left out of the first rollout over at the United Center. My zip code wasn’t even included, and so we took matters into our own hands to try to make sure that my residents who are hit extremely hard with the coronavirus to get protected so we can move forward,” Beale said.
Beale said Tuesday’s event came about when a large supply of COVID-19 vaccines that were meant to go to members of the community through Roseland Community Hospital were sent to another vaccination site in a different part of the city, because of a mistake on a vaccine order.
So he teamed up with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Jewel-Osco to provide 1,000 vaccine doses to 9th Ward residents who are 40 years old or older.
While only healthcare workers, frontline essential workers, long-term care facility residents and staff, people age 65 and older, and adults with underlying health conditions are currently eligible for the vaccine in Illinois, Beale said organizers changed the age group for these 1,000 shots because the more people who are vaccinated, the more the elderly will be protected.
“When you have an old population like I do, we’re just trying to make sure my seniors are protected. So we’re stepping up to the plate, and we’re filling the void out here on the South Side of Chicago,” Beale said.MORE NEWS: Loretto Hospital Gets COVID Vaccine Again, Following Controversy Over Non-Eligible People Getting Shots
The alderman said the goal is to hold another one of these events in the near future.