In light of reports showing familiar disparities in ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts between Chicago’s well-to-do communities and majority-minority communities, State Senator Jacqueline Collins called on Gov. Pritzker Monday, February 8, to focus resources on the same neighborhoods that are suffering from the highest rates of infections and deaths but are to date seeing the slowest rollout of the vaccines.
“When the pandemic began, we saw disparities in infections and deaths,” Collins said. “As it continued, we saw disparities in testing and care. Now, we are seeing disparities in reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. These disparities are literally killing us. I am calling on Governor Pritzker to interrogate the reasons that the most affluent North Side zip codes are seeing such success in vaccination while impoverished communities like mine are struggling, even as we’re seeing the worst rates of spread. And I am calling on him to do something about it.”
Since December, the Crusader has maintained a database of vaccination data on Pfizer’s first dose from the Chicago Department of Public Health. The data shows an inequality gap of vaccinations that occurred among residents in Chicago’s neighborhoods on the affluent North Side and the city’s South and West sides. Many zip codes on the North and Near West Side had more vaccinations than COVID-19 cases.
Between February 2 and February 7, the gap grew bigger as new vaccinations soared on the North Side as the South and West sides continued to lag behind. During this period, there were 1,153 vaccinations in zip code 60657, which includes Lakeview on the North Side. In zip code 60640, which includes Uptown on the North Side, there were 1,303 vaccinations over six days, city data show. In zip code 60618, which includes Avondale, North Center, Irving Park, there were 1,227.
Between February 2 and February 7, out of 53 zip codes in Chicago, eight had over 1,000 vaccinations during that period. Six were on the North Side. Out of 18 zip codes on the South Side, only two had over 1,000 vaccinations from February 2 to February 7. They include 60629, which includes the West Lawn and Chicago Lawn neighborhoods, where there were 1,157 vaccinations for a total of 4,444.
The other zip code on the South Side, 60632, which includes Archer Heights, Brighton Park and Gage Park, had 1,157 vaccinations over six days for a total of 3,937.
During that period, Englewood (60621) had just 148 vaccinations for a total of 983. Auburn Gresham (60620) had just 649 vaccinations for a total of 2,672. Woodlawn and Washington Park (60637) had 406 vaccinations for a total of 3,402. On the West Side, Austin (60644) had 568 vaccinations for a total of 2,175. In North Lawndale and South Lawndale (60623), there were 926 vaccinations in six days for a total of 3,516.
According to city data, the top ten neighborhoods with the highest number of COVID-19 vaccinations are all on the city’s North Side. As of Monday, February 8, zip code 60657, which includes Lakeview, had the highest number of vaccinations with 7,971. The zip code with the second highest vaccinations is tony Lincoln Park, which had 7,701. Uptown in zip code 60640 was third with 7,627. Rounding out the top ten were Avondale, North Center, Irving Park (60618), with 6,975 vaccinations; the Gold Coast (60611) with 6,680 vaccinations; Logan Square (60647) with 6,613 vaccinations; West Town (60622) with 6,012 vaccinations; Lincoln Square, Albany Park, North Park (60625) with 5,876 vaccinations; the Lower West Side (60608) with 5,698 vaccinations and another Lakeview zip code (60613) with 5,333 vaccinations.
A recent report shows that neighborhoods that have dealt with long-term issues such as pollution are also struggling to get a place in line for vaccinations.
“The governor moved to rectify testing disparities in the Auburn Gresham area when we pointed them out, and now it is home to the city’s state-run, free testing site,” Collins said. “I am again calling on him to recognize that a more targeted effort is needed to immunize the communities where this virus has struck the hardest.”