Chicago Mayor Announces Citywide Vaccine Initiative at Red Shield Center

Sep 28, 2021

The Salvation Army Adele and Robert Stern Red Shield Center was selected as the site for Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s recent press conference announcing a new citywide COVID-19 vaccine initiative. 

Mayor Lightfoot joined leaders from the Chicago Department of Public Health, or CDPH, to announce the Protect Chicago 77 initiative. The goal of the citywide campaign is to bring the number of eligible Chicago residents – both children and adults – receiving their first dose of the vaccine up to 77 percent by the end of the year.

“Seventy-seven, representing all of our community neighborhoods,” Mayor Lightfoot said. “I want to emphasize it’s a citywide effort where we don’t want to leave a single person that’s eligible for a vaccine behind. This citywide effort community engagement campaign is unique in that it directly calls on and empowers all of us to take a shared responsibility in fighting this virus.”

The initiative calls on people in all 77 of the city’s designated community areas to get vaccinated and encourage others to follow suit. Mayor Lightfoot said there are zip codes in the City of Chicago that have vaccination rates of 50% or less. That includes Englewood.

Captain AJ Zimmerman, corps officer for The Salvation Army Red Shield Center, located in Englewood, was pleased to host the mayor’s public announcement of the Protect Chicago 77 initiative.

“I’m happy that they chose to be here because we have been a partner with the city throughout this whole summer with the vaccination bus, making sure that people in our area are informed and that they also get vaccinated,” Capt. AJ Zimmerman said. “I think that in the black community there is some hesitancy about it, and I believe that information is key. I think that’s going to be the key in getting everybody vaccinated. And we have been a big partner with the city in that.”

CDPH, in coordination with the Chicago Transit Authority and The Salvation Army, has operated a weekly vaccination station outside the Red Shield Center since May. The wrapped CTA bus has welcomed walk-up appointments in a familiar and trusted space with the goal of eliminating any barriers that might prevent members of the community from receiving the vaccine.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady thanked The Salvation Army for serving as the host site for the vaccination bus.

“From the very beginning, we’ve seen that it is not only essential to provide easy access to vaccination, but it is equally important that the unvaccinated hear from trusted community voices about why they chose to get vaccinated,” Dr. Arwady said. “Those two factors have helped our numbers trend upward. We want to celebrate these businesses, communities, and Chicagoans who are joining this movement to make our city safer for everyone.”


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