Vaccine Corps Partnership – The Need
In Illinois, over 500,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and nearly 11,000 have died. Public health professionals expect that number to drastically increase through the winter months. But hope is on the horizon. There are several clinical trials in which an effective and safe vaccine to prevent COVID-19 are reporting positive results. The Illinois Department of Public Health estimates a vaccine will become widely available beginning next Spring with herd immunity (where 80% of the population is immunized) by Fall of 2021.
But, this all relies on the public’s willingness to take the vaccine.
Trust in health systems appears to be at an all-time low. And many concerns exists about the COVID-19 vaccines and the speed at which they have been developed.
And because of a history of racism, disinvestment and unethical medical studies, the communities most affected by the pandemic -Black and Brown communities – are the same where vaccine hesitancy is particularly high.
Leveraging Community-Rooted Expertise
Organizations in the Chicago metro area have teamed up to build partnerships with communities to form a network of trusted messengers to support COVID-19 prevention and vaccination efforts (“vaccine corps”) and inform health leaders of the concerns and priorities of our most affected communities.
The vaccine corps will be trained with the facts to dispel myths, address concerns about the value and safety of the vaccine and ultimately help people access the vaccine.
This effort is being led by community members and key stakeholders from the education, healthcare, philanthropy, public and business sectors.