'Mayor's Challenge' hopes to educate, vaccinate

  • Rodney Craig

    Rodney Craig

 
 
Updated 6/28/2021 7:31 PM

As COVID-19 vaccinations lag in some areas, many communities like Hanover Park and Hoffman Estates are getting a little more creative to encourage those who have waited to get their shots.

Hanover Park Mayor Rodney Craig said he believes one way to help boost immunizations in town is to participate in the "Mayor's Challenge" campaign organized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in conjunction with the White House and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

 

Of 115 mayors across the country participating, seven other Illinois mayors have joined the challenge: Bill McLeod of Hoffman Estates, Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, Daniel Biss of Evanston, Nancy Rotering of Highland Park, Thomas McNamara of Rockford, Deborah Feinen of Champaign and Diane Marlin of Urbana.

The campaign is part of the federal government's effort to have 70% of American adults receive at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by July 4 and boost immunization acceptance nationwide.

"Mayors are a trusted voice in their communities," Craig said. "I'm an example, too. I had my vaccine for three months and I'm feeling better than ever."

The Mayor's Challenge is also meant to educate and to assure those who are uncertain that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and reliable.

"This is an essential step to beating this virus once and for all," said Greg Fischer, mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, and president of the mayor's conference, in a news release. "The light is at the end of the tunnel, and cities are ready to play their part to help sustain and bolster our nation's recovery."

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So far, 6,135,208 people have been fully vaccinated in Illinois -- or 48.1% of the 12.7 million population -- according to the state health department.

Because Hanover Park straddles the border of Cook and DuPage counties, rates specific to the village are unclear, said David Webb, deputy village manager. More than 50% of the population in both those counties are fully vaccinated, according to the most recent state figures.

Vaccine events and clinics haven't had very high turnout in Hanover Park, the mayor said. One church, Craig said, didn't get enough people to sign up and had to cancel the event.

"We've got to up our ante," Craig said.

After a June 22 mayors conference meeting with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Craig said he was given some ideas, most notably "mobile units."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

A mobile unit would allow for vaccines to be offered at different events and locations throughout the village.

Craig said he is looking forward to normalcy as more and more people get their shots.

"Please go out and get vaccinated," Craig said. "We need to turn this around."

There is no prize involved in the nationwide mayor's challenge, just increased vaccination rates, Webb said.

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