MAYWOOD, IL — Loyola Medicine is collaborating with 60 of America's top hospitals and health care institutions on a nationwide campaign to encourage adults to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Led by Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic, the campaign "Get the Vaccine to Save Lives," is designed to reassure the public that vaccines are safe, effective and necessary to achieve herd immunity and a return to normal activities. In Illinois, Loyola joins Lurie Children's Hospital, Northwestern Medicine, Rush University Medical Center and UChicago Medicine in the effort to boost vaccination rates. Loyola Medicine includes Loyola University Medical Center, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital and MacNeal Hospital.
"Our state and our country are at a critical juncture," said Shawn P. Vincent, Loyola Medicine President & CEO. "We now have COVID-19 vaccines for all eligible adults, providing the potential for a return to normal activities later this year. However, every adult who can safely receive a vaccine must do so."
The campaign hopes to reach adults who are hesitant to receive a vaccine, including racial and minority ethnic groups and people living in rural communities. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey published March 30, 17% of the public say they will take a wait-and-see approach before getting it themselves, and another 20% say they will never get a vaccine or will only get it if required to do so for work, school or other activities. This leaves a significant portion of the population at risk of going unvaccinated.
With vaccine distribution underway, the campaign aims to help Americans feel safe and confident about receiving a vaccine. To achieve herd immunity and help end the pandemic, leading health officials say at least 75% of the population needs to receive a vaccine. Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. As a result, the whole community becomes protected — not just those who have been vaccinated.
"Loyola Medicine is proud to partner with other leading academic medical centers in the effort to reach and educate Chicago-area residents on the safety, efficacy, necessity and availability of the COVID-19 vaccine," said Vincent. "We look forward to continued, robust vaccination rates in the communities we serve."
More than 195 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered and 48% of the population age 18 and over has received at least one vaccine dose in the U.S. through April 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met the Food and Drug Administration’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization.