By Meredith Barack

CHICAGO (CBS) — Some people getting the COVID-19 vaccine are getting their shots at a funeral home of all places.

The people at Golden Gate Funeral Home are used to dealing with death, but now they are trying to save lives. The mood inside is usually much more somber, as families say their final goodbyes to a loved one. But Thursday it was joyful, and many were filled with relief as they were one step closer to saying “hello” to normalcy.

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“It’s kind of shocking at first,” said Bertha Young. “A lot of people that I have brought out here have been afraid of it because it’s a funeral home. This vaccine could save us from being intubated or in the hospital a long period of time. It’s best that we do this.”

Young says she has been encouraging others in her neighborhood to get the shot, as Auburn Gresham has been hit hard by COVID-19. The community has seen more than 5,100 COVID cases and 142 deaths since the pandemic began.

“One of the things we’re concerned about is ensuring the sustainability of our community,” said Sylvester Dunn with Golden Gate Funeral Home.

He said his funeral home has performed more services than ever since the pandemic began. That’s why Golden Gate partnered with InstaVaxx to provide residents with the Pfizer vaccine.

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“It’s been tremendously a demanding and frustrating year as well as painful, and this is one of the reasons why we want to get the vaccinations in the arms of our people because we’re tired of the ravishes of this pandemic,” Dunn said.

So far, less than 18% of the 60620 zip code is fully vaccinated. Dunn hopes by providing shots at Golden Gate, that number will rapidly change and save lives.

“It’s not hesitancy,” he said. “It’s accessibility, and this is the reason why we’re doing what we’re doing: because we want this vaccination accessible. We’re in the business of celebrating life, but we believe this move is helping us to sustain life. And that’s what we want to do.”

Golden Gate Funeral Home will be doing vaccinations every Thursday indefinitely with the hopes of getting the entire neighborhood vaccinated.

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To register for an appointment at the Golden Gate Funeral Home vaccination clinic, call 773-846-7903 or visit

Meredith Barack