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Chicago health clinics work to target monkeypox vaccine in Black, Latino communities

CHICAGO (WLS) — While local health officials acknowledge much of the access to the monkeypox vaccine has been on Chicago’s North Side, there is work to get information and vaccine to other parts of the city.

There were appointments for just 100 monkeypox vaccines at a clinic sponsored by CALOR and Alivio Medical Center for a pop-up clinic at Arturo Velasquez Institute near Pilsen.

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The clientele was predominantly members of the Latino community and organizers say more needs to be done.

“14% of the vaccines have gone to the Latino community, yet the infection rate is somewhere around 38%,” Alivio Medica Center CEO Esther Corpuz said. “There’s definitely a disparity in those numbers.”

“It’s important that we go out there,” said Milani Varela, a CALOR Health Educator. “Like I mentioned, West Side, South Side — all over Chicago — to make sure that we are the ones going to the communities and not waiting for the communities to come to us.”

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In Englewood, the staff at the Howard Brown clinic are offering monkeypox vaccines and organizing events on the South and West sides.

“We want to make sure there is enough vaccine, access to medical care for community members here that have historically not been able to access the care that they need,” said Channyn Parker, Director of Community Engagement for Howard Brown Health Clinic.

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For their upcoming vaccination events, Howard Brown is urging community partners to send emails or texts directly to clients. The clinic is not posting the events publicly to make sure the vaccine is getting to Black and Brown residents in the community.

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