A new initiative spearheaded by the Cook County Department of Public Health hopes to make COVID-19 vaccination opportunities more accessible by removing a ‘key barrier’: transportation.
County officials announced Monday, Aug. 2, that a new program entitled “Destination: Vaccination” will provide free rides to several vaccination sites throughout suburban Cook County and in some instances the city of Chicago.
Officials say the program will assist individuals with “limited mobility or transportation issues to easily get vaccinated, removing a key barrier for many residents.”
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said in a press release detailing the program that “transportation is a critical barrier for those in traditionally underserved communities” and that officials want to provide this option for residents who otherwise want to get vaccinated.
County residents who need a ride to a vaccination location can utilize the program by calling (833)-308-1988 to schedule a ride, according to the press release. Residents of suburban Cook County and Chicago are eligible for the program.
Vehicles can accommodate most residents, officials say, noting that includes those in wheelchairs or those who require child seats.
The county is encouraging residents to schedule in advance but a ride “should arrive between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on time of day and fleet availability.” The service is free.
Partners in the initiative include Kaizen Health and several community-based organizations. Those organizations are: Access to Care, Center of Concern, Family Christian Health Center, Next Move Community Services, PASO Action, Pathlights, Seasons Community Outreach Services, and Sisters Working It Out.
“We are providing additional access, education and outreach to encourage more individuals to receive the vaccination, but many barriers still exist,” says Israel Rocha, CEO of Cook County Health, in the release. This partnership is an effort to bridge a gap that continues to impact individual access to healthcare. “We thank Kaizen and our CBOs for this partnership to help us provide a life-saving vaccine to Cook County residents.”
For information about upcoming vaccination events, or information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit cookcountypublichealth.org or myshotcookcounty.com.
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Martin Carlino is a co-founder and the senior editor who assigns and edits The Record stories, while also bylining articles every week. Martin is an experienced and award-winning education reporter who was the editor of The Northbrook Tower.