A mass vaccination clinic centered on "equitable distribution" of the coronavirus vaccine opened at the largest black church in Aurora Tuesday, with more than 750 people set to receive doses on the first day.
The Black Vax Aurora Community Vaccination Clinic is being held at the Cathedral of Grace St. John AME Church, the oldest and largest Black church in Aurora, located at 2950 Bilter Rd.
According to officials, the clinic is being supplied with doses by both Kane and DuPage County's health departments.
"I've said from the beginning that we have to be intentional about our effort to vaccinate Black and brown Illinoisans and communities that have been left out and left behind," Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said after touring the site Tuesday. "We must consistently work to overcome the healthcare inequities that have existed for a very long time, long before COVID-19 inequities that I'm committed to eliminating."
While registration is mandatory, the event reached capacity within 24 hours of opening up availability. For more information on how to register click here.
Registration requirements include any of the following:
- AGE: 65 years and older
- OCCUPATION: Healthcare, First Responder, Education, Food & Agriculture, Manufacturing, Corrections Worker, US Postal Service, Public Transit Worker, Grocery Store Worker, Shelters/Adult Day Care
- MEDICAL CONDITION: Diabetes, Obesity, Pulmonary Diseases, Smoking, Heart Conditions, Chronic Kidney Disease, Cancer, Immunocompromised, Sickle Cell, Pregnancy, Person with a Disability
According to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, as of Tuesday, 2.7% of Kane County’s more than 90,000 vaccines have been distributed to the Black community. Data showed that number is even lower in DuPage County, where Black residents received just 2.3% of the roughly 200,000 distributed doses.
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Similar trends have been reported across the country.
An early look at 17 states and two cities that released racial breakdowns through Jan. 25 found that Black people in all places were getting inoculated at levels below their share of the general population, in some cases significantly below.
That is true even though they constitute an oversize percentage of the nation's health care workers, who were put at the front of the line for shots when the campaign began in mid-December.
Last month, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported white women over age 50 accounted for a majority of the first COVID-19 vaccinations administered in the United States.
The gap is deeply troubling to some, given that Black, Hispanic and Native American people are dying from COVID-19 at almost three times the rate of white people, according to the CDC.
Elsewhere in Illinois, equitable distribution of the vaccine has become a focus.
In Chicago, city officials reported at least half of all doses in recent weeks went to Black or Latinx residents.
The number nearly triples the statistics reported less than a month ago, when the city said just 18% of doses administered early on in the vaccine rollout were going to Black or Latinx Chicagoans, despite them making up 59% of the city's population.
Still, according to data since vaccinations began, Black and Latinx residents make up less than 40% of the city's total first doses administered.
Officials have since announced plans to launch a mass vaccination clinic at the United Center for all Illinois residents in the coming days, with a focus on seniors as well as equity.