Salvation Army Chicago Midway Event Brings COVID-19 Vaccines to the Community

May 7, 2021

“One woman worked a 14-hour shift and came right over,” said Lieutenant Dalvius King-Harvy, corps officer at The Salvation Army Chicago Midway Corps Community Center. “The vaccine wasn’t accessible to her otherwise.”

With people like this woman in mind, the Midway corps hosted a COVID-19 vaccination event yesterday in partnership with Alivio Medical Center, JenCare Senior Medical Center, and area elected officials including State Representative Aaron Ortiz, Alderman Michael D. Rodriguez, Congresswoman Marie Newman, Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, and County Commissioner Alma E. Anaya. 

“This neighborhood is one of the cluster areas hit hard by COVID-19,” Lieutenant Dalvius said, speaking to the motivation for hosting the event. She also noted the challenge of getting vaccinated for those who work long or odd hours and for those who rely on public transportation. 

“It’s great to offer these events right in communities,” said Juan Aguirre, RN Clinical Team Lead at Alivio Medical Center. He has been planning vaccination events like this one throughout the city, focusing predominantly on essential and under-served groups, such as restaurant workers, childcare workers, undocumented citizens, and at-risk populations.

The event at the Mayfair corps was the first Alivio has hosted in a community. “Demand for vaccines is slipping, so we need to meet people where they are,” he said. “I met one gentleman this morning who lives in the neighborhood and just walked down the street to get his shot.”   

The event was also convenient for Johnny Tillery, who does maintenance work at the Midway corps. He was initially hesitant to get the shot, concerned about side effects and any issues related to the seizure medication he’s on. Once he learned his medication wasn’t a barrier, and with encouragement from his family, he decided to get vaccinated. “My people want me to come visit, so I need to be able to get on an airplane or Greyhound,” Johnny said. “And this is part of opening the City back up.”

The vaccine isn’t the first lifesaving help The Salvation Army has provided Johnny. He’s been sober for nearly a year after going through the Army’s Harbor Light in-patient substance use disorder treatment and rehabilitation program. The program helped him get sober after 30-plus years of alcoholism, and also got him the job at the Midway corps.

Juan and Angelica, a married couple who got vaccinated with their 4 and almost-2-year-old in tow, were grateful for this lifesaving shot as well. All four of them got COVID-19, so they were very interested in getting vaccinated to protect themselves and their family in the future.

Those who got vaccinated at the event were scheduled for their second-dose shot before they left. Salvation Army staff also invited them to help themselves to face masks, hand sanitizer, and information on our other programs and services.

“This is what The Salvation Army does,” said Lieutenant Dalvius. “We meet the needs in our community.”  

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