Fighting COVID Vaccine Hesitancy

CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reports on what community leaders in some of Chicago's most vulnerable neighborhoods are doing to combat COVID vaccine hesitancy after one drug maker's shots had severe side effects in six out of the more than six million doses given.

Video Transcript

IRIKA SARGENT: CBS 2 investigator Megan Hickey has been looking into the challenge to convince people who were on the fence to get the vaccine. Megan?

MEGAN HICKEY: Right, Irika. We spent time with one group that was already battling vaccine misinformation here in Englewood and in other neighborhoods on the city's South Side. Now they say that Johnson & Johnson halt is already setting them back.

Target Area Development Corp's executive director told me they prayed for the vaccine for months as they worked to educate residents about COVID-19 precautions.

AUTRY PHILLIPS: How are you doing?

MEGAN HICKEY: But residents here in Auburn Gresham were not as receptive as they'd hoped. It was an uphill battle, that got a lot steeper with yesterday's announcement from the CDC and FDA about halting J&J vaccinations.

How has that impacted, already, the hesitancy?

AUTRY PHILLIPS: Megan, it's like dropping a bomb. It's taking us down a pitch, right, where we're being challenged. Like, this is why I didn't get it the first time.

MEGAN HICKEY: His group canvasses the neighborhood, passing out educational flyers and starting conversations about the vaccines. Every Friday, the group passes out hundreds of boxed lunches in Englewood, Auburn Gresham, and Chatham. Phillips says explaining the J&J pause will be one of the major topics at this week's pick-up.

Now, to give you a sense of the word that needs to be done, overall in the city of Chicago, about 22% of the population is fully vaccinated. Now, in this Englewood ZIP code, which has been specifically targeted by the city to increase vaccinations, it's just 15%. Irika?

IRIKA SARGENT: Quite a difference, a stark one there. Thank you, Megan.