COVID-19 Vaccination Event at Salvation Army Mayfair Focuses on Underserved Communities
“This means everything,” said Morgan, an Albany Park resident who got vaccinated against COVID-19 yesterday at The Salvation Army Mayfair Community Church. Morgan works with children and was eager to get vaccinated to help keep her students safe. This was the first opportunity she’d had to get a shot in her own neighborhood.
The COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic was a joint effort by local leaders and organizations, including the Compassionate Care Network, Jewel-Osco, The Salvation Army, Alderman Samantha Nugent, State Senator Ram Villivalam, State Rep. John D’Amico, State Rep. Margaret Croke, and Commissioner Bridget Degnen. Up to 1,200 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were available to everyone over the age of 16, regardless of residency, insurance, or immigration status.
“We need to reach out to underserved communities so they can get the help they deserve,” said Abrar Quader, Executive Director for the Compassionate Care Network, a public health non-profit which has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout since early February.
Quader and other event organizers were especially interested in reaching those who have had difficulty finding vaccine appointments, particularly due to disparities in health care. “The pandemic may have separated us, but the vaccine is bringing us together,” he said.
Major Michael Cho (pictured third from right above), one of the corps officers at the Mayfair Community Church, noted that many in his congregation are seniors who have no internet and don’t speak much English, limiting their access to vaccination information. When he announced this event, many of them were quick to sign up.
“Seeing how many people registered, there’s clearly still a need for vaccinations,” he said. “I think a lot of people have fallen through the cracks. This event will have an immediate positive effect. I’m so glad The Salvation Army is a part of this.”
Julie, a Jefferson Park resident who got vaccinated at the event, said, “This is part of opening the world back up safely.” Another attendee said he’s excited that he gets to go see his family now. “This is doing a whole lot of good!” he said.
Alderman Samantha Nugent (pictured fourth from left above), who was present at the event, said, “Vaccine accessibility gets us one step closer to eliminating COVID-19 and resuming normalcy.” She noted that getting her community vaccinated has been a priority. “It’s an act of care for you and your neighbors,” she said, adding that she considers The Salvation Army “a tremendous community partner.”
“The Salvation Army is excited to partner in this effort to ensure our most vulnerable neighbors can access the vaccine at a location they know and trust," said Lt. Colonel Lonneal Richardson, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division. "We have been here before and during the pandemic, and we will be here long after to help.”
Those who got vaccinated at the event also received a care package with hand sanitizer and several face masks, thanks to a Salvation Army donor, as well as a coupon for Jewel-Osco. Participants will receive the second dose at the same location in two weeks.