DuPage County has set an ambitious goal of vaccinating 80% of its residents by July 1.
The challenge was announced on Friday at a press conference with county health officials and “champions” who are using their community platform to spread the word.
DuPage already has a head start as it was leading the entire state of Illinois in vaccinations as of Friday evening.
More than 35% of residents in DuPage County have been vaccinated. Cook County and the city of Chicago follow.
Karen Ayala, executive director of DuPage County Health, credits collaboration across the county in getting residents vaccinated.
She highlighted how school districts are working with the county to get students vaccinated. Ayala also says fire departments have been working to deliver in-home vaccinations for those who are homebound.
But not everyone is on board.
Dr. Jamie Aten, professor of Humanitarian and Disaster Leadership at Wheaton College says he filed a police report after receiving backlash for spotlighting a Pew Research Study that showed 45% of white evangelicals would not get a vaccine.
“One person even sending me a message on how it was punishable by death the fact that I was advocating for COVID-19 vaccines,” Aten said. “This is an issue broader than one particular faith community, but within evangelicalism, it’s a very diverse group.”
DuPage County’s vaccination program aims to break down hesitancy and boost confidence using community figures, like the president of the DuPage chapter of the NAACP.
DuPage County leaders add that they’ve recently received their largest vaccine allocation to date.