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Chicago’s Seniors Are The Most At Risk From COVID — But They’re Lagging Behind The Nation In Getting Vaccinated

The city health department is rolling out initiatives to boost vaccinations among older folks, who are the most at risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.

Lakeview Pantry client Yolanda Delgado receives her first dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the vaccination site next to Wrigley Field on April 5, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — The city’s health department is doubling down on efforts to get older people vaccinated, as it’s struggled to get the shots to some of those most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Nationally, nearly 85 percent of people 65 and older are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But in Chicago, only 71.5 percent of those residents have gotten all their shots.

That’s particularly worrisome because people in that age range are more likely to experience severe illness and death from COVID-19.

In light of that, the city is rolling out initiatives to boost vaccinations among older folks, according to a Friday news release.

  • A marketing campaign will feature stories of older people who have gotten vaccinated. Older people in Chicago will be able to call the city’s hotline, 312-746-4835, to ask questions about the vaccines and get support in getting their shots.
  • The health department is partnering with AARP to send greeting cards to older people. The cards tell readers about how easy it is to get vaccinated though Chicago’s at-home program. The cards will be sent to people’s homes and will be distributed by Meals on Wheels and other groups.
  • The city is reaching out to people who got vaccinations at home to schedule them for booster shots at home.

The vaccines have been shown to largely protect people from severe illness and death from COVID-19.

Many Chicagoans are also now eligible to get a booster shot to ensure they remain protected. More than 214,000 older Chicagoans can get a booster shot, according to the health department.

“As important as it is to encourage seniors to start their COVID-19 vaccine series, I also want everyone over age 65 to get a booster,” Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said in the news release. “While vaccines continue to do a fantastic job of preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19, we have seen some fall off in protection is those who are in the oldest age groups or who have underlying medical conditions – and that’s where boosters can be beneficial.”

Everyone 12 and older is eligible to get vaccinated in Chicago.

COVID-19 vaccinations are free and do not require insurance. Anyone can call the city’s coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 to get more information on how and where to get vaccinated in their community.


• In Illinois, about 7.2 million people — or 56.93 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.

• Across the state, 49,742 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 15,542,790 vaccine doses of the 18,754,265 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.6 million Chicagoans — or 59.5 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 64.6 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot.

The numbers:

• Twenty-two Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19 since Thursday.

• At least 25,771 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,849 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 2,649 cases since Thursday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,695,524.

• Since Thursday, 150,555 tests were reported statewide. In all, 35,288,616 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day case positivity rate was at 1.8 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 1.9 Thursday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 2.2 percent. It was at 2.2 percent Thursday.

• As of Thursday night, 281 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 133 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, two deaths were reported since Thursday. There have been at least 5,895 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of more than two deaths per day, down 41 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago has had 426 confirmed cases reported since Thursday. It’s had a total of 327,210 confirmed cases. An average of 294 confirmed cases are being reported per day, unchanged from the week prior.

• Testing in Chicago is up 7 percent since a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 1.6 percent, down from 1.9 percent the week prior.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers.

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