‘I Want To Enjoy People Again’: Community Group Hits North Lawndale To Get People The COVID Vaccine

CHICAGO (CBS) — Blacks and Latinos have been among the hardest hit by COVID-19, but they’re still among the least vaccinated in Chicago.

Forty-seven percent of the city has received at least one shot. A look at the racial breakdown of those who’ve gotten the shot, nearly 54% white and 53% Asian. Only 38% Latinx and 31% Black.

CBS 2’s Steven Graves spent the day with a grassroots group going door-to-door in the vaccination effort.

In North Lawndale, leaders are analyzing the data that shows pockets of no vaccine hesitancy. And the new door to door strategy is helping fill the gap.

“Hey guys, we got one!”

It’s the joy of a vaccine victory for Pastor James Brooks. People in his home neighborhood of North Lawndale who either already have the COVID-19 shot or ones signing up on the spot.

Vaccinated in 24 hours.

“I think this is an urgent matter,” Brooks said.

Like one man who was driving by.

“Hello, have you been vaccinated,” he asked. It’s the mission for Pastor James Brooks and 10th District police.

“As one of the residents said, if the police officers are here, it’s got to be legit,” said Commander Gilberto Calderon.

To bring everything vaccine-related to residents.

“Our role is to become close,” Brooks said. “If someone is homebound, our hope is to bring a team out to them tomorrow.”

Pastor Brooks works with the Lawndale Christian Health center. He’s seen the excitement over the vaccine fizzle out.

“Calling, (going) on Facebook telling people to come, and eventually, we just said we need to go door to door,” Brooks said.

That door-to-door exposed some hesitancy.

“Eh, I’m just on the fence with,” said resident Phillip Patton, Jr.

It’s a trend Chicago health leaders are seeing in the South Side and West Side, in predominately Black and Latino zip codes.

Another tactic is a vaccine bus that pops up in neighborhoods, going to people who are on the fence.

“It seemed like everything is going to go where, eventually, everyone is going to have to have it, so I might as well go on and get it now,” Patton said, who got his first shot.

It’s understood that the vaccine may not not for everyone. But for one young man, a social worker, who said he needed more research.

“You text me. That’s how serious I am about it,” Brooks said to a resident, adding that it’s about becoming a resource.

“I want to enjoy people again,” Brooks said.

As the push to educate and vaccinate becomes a team effort, giving a shot to those who might not otherwise be reached.

The team is doing the neighborhood walks every other week. Twelve residents signed up to get the COVID vaccine.