CHICAGO (CBS) — A vaccine program called Protect Chicago Plus is helping high-risk neighborhoods get vaccinated fast.
But CBS 2 found the Chicago ZIP code with the worst vaccination rate isn’t even in the program.READ MORE: Cook County To Release 35,000 COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments Tuesday Afternoon
It’s ZIP code 60827, one of the few ZIP codes located at least in part within the city that does not begin with a “606.”
The ZiP code includes the Altgeld Gardens neighborhood, as well as some south suburban communities.
As CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra reported Tuesday, the city ranked communities based on their COVID numbers, dense population and number of essential workers. And that’s how it identified the 15 areas in Protect Chicago Plus. But the 60827 ZIP code is not part of that.
Their numbers are dead last, and the area’s alderman wants help.
“We have been aggressively trying to vaccinate people in the community.”
The job of getting shots in arms is one Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) said he’s taking seriously.
On March 16th, 1,000 of his South Side residents got their first dose of the COVID vaccine at a community center. But that was one highlight in an otherwise desolate spot.
It’s a low income area with a majority of minority neighborhoods. Yet, its COVID numbers and other factors did not qualify it to be one of the 15 hard hit communities getting targeted vaccine efforts through the Protect Chicago Plus program.READ MORE: Four People Arrested After Car Stolen In Pullman Carjacking Spotted In Chatham
“If you look at all the city’s information, 60827 is not even on the map,” Beale said.
That 9th Ward zip code is on the CBS 2 vaccine tracker showing it has the lowest percentage of the population fully vaccinated in the entire city, just 0.5% as of Monday.
Its neighbors, Roseland and South Deering are part of Protect Chicago Plus, but Altgeld Gardens zip code is not.
Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said that communities like Altgeld Gardens can expect more outreach as they look at this data, but also as eligibility opens up as the city moves into Phase 1C next Monday.
“You’re going to be hearing more about new and creative things we’ll be doing to bring vaccine to under vaccinated communities,” said Arwady.
CBS 2 asked Doctor Arwady if communities showing low vaccine rates could be added to those first 15 in Protect Chicago Plus.
“We certainly will maintain focus on there, but we’ll be pulling where we have seen data with lower vaccination rates,” Arwady said.
The data shows the problem. It’ll be up to Chicago’s Department of Public Health how to attack it.
Alderman Beale hopes there is a plan, and soon.MORE NEWS: Aldermen Approve Revised Plan To Close Loophole In Anti-Puppy Mill Ordinance Restricting Sales Of Dogs, Cats, And Rabbits At Pet Stores
“My seniors are not going to get on the bus, get on the ‘L’ and go down to the United Center. We have to bring the vaccination to the people,” Beale said.