Chicago shows significant difference in vaccination rate per Zip Code: Will vaccines go to waste upon missed appointments?

In December 2020, the first round of COVID-19 was delivered to 50 states in America. Pfizer and Moderna have noted 400 million doses of vaccines for usage in the next 7 months. The vaccine requires 2 doses, which will suffice 200 million people.

Overall, the area around the lake shore have even distribution of COVID-19 locations, though the locations appear to be more compacted towards the heart of Chicago. The map shows that Lincoln Park (60614), Palm Square (60647) and Lake View (60657) have the most COVID-19 vaccination locations at approximately from 8 to 10 providers. Whereas smaller area Zip codes, such as 60601, 60602, and 60603, have 2 locations each. This distribution works perfectly for these area since they are significantly smaller than the aforementioned ones, and the locations are crowded together.

According to the Pulitzer Center report, 60611 has the highest percentage of full vaccination rate at 27.1% in comparison to other Zip Codes. This is an interesting number since the Zip Code shows to have no locations available for COVID-19 vaccination and the area. Zip Code 60601, 60602, and 60603 also have the most percentage of people vaccinated, while having the least amount of positive case since March. These area share a common characteristic of having lots of businesses.

Although president Biden has stated that there will be enough vaccine for Americans by May, there remains a rising concern regarding COVID-19 unavailability. While wasted vaccines are caused by many technical issues, such as broken syringe or punctured bottles, some believe that missing appointments may jeopardize the availability of that dose since it has been thawed.

Talking about this problem in Illinois with ABC7 Chicago, Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, attributes this problem to ineffective planning. In addition, he recommends that officials should make vaccine distribution a 24/7 operation to accommodate different work schedules, especially essential workers who may not be able to take time off to get the vaccine during their shift. The Chicago residents demand public health authorities to make sure the lines have extra people on standby so the doses don’t end up wasted on a no-show.

According to USA Today, there is a website that sends text messages to subscribers when a vaccine might go unclaimed. The service is created with a view to minimize the number of vaccines going to wastes by connecting people with vaccines that are about to expire.

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