COVID-19 ‘Vax Pass’ may be needed to see Chicago summer concerts, events

COVID-19 ‘Vax Pass’ may be needed to see Chicago summer concerts, events

Chicago’s public health commissioner said residents are not required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 – unless they want to attend summer events. City spending nearly $10 million to reach more neighborhoods with vaccines and close racial gaps.

After a year of lockdown, summer in Chicago is back – but maybe only for those with a “Vax Pass.”

Chicago’s top health official announced April 27 the city may start requiring residents to provide a vaccination passport in May to attend events geared towards young adults. The announcement came along with news the city will spend $9.6 million trying to close the racial equity gap in vaccinations by reaching more neighborhoods.

Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago’s public health commissioner, said the “Vax Pass” will be required to attend concerts and other summer events starting in May as a means of incentivizing young Illinoisans to get vaccinated.

“You get a vaccine, you’ll be able to get into a concert or get into an event,” Arwady said. “(We’re) really thinking, particularly for younger people, how can we make vaccine something that people are excited about getting?”

The “Vax Pass” was one of many initiatives the city is pursuing to encourage vaccination, she said. Chicago will not require residents to get vaccinated, except to attend these events.

She said she views the idea as a public health measure. “We all want to put this behind us and getting people vaccinated is the way to do this, so I don’t think of it as a bribe.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the state is “making progress” and could soon enter the “Bridge Phase” of the state reopening plan. Pritzker in March added this additional phase before he will allow a full reopening of the state.

To move into the Bridge Phase, 70% of Illinoisans 65 and older must have received at least one dose of a vaccine, in addition to maintaining at least 20% ICU bed availability and holding steady on hospitalizations, mortality and case rates for a 28-day period.

Illinois will enter Phase 5 and fully reopen when 50% of Illinoisans 16 and older have been vaccinated or COVID-19 metrics decline over a 28-day period.

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