Civil rights Icon and president of The Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. was recently administered a dose of Pfizer’s BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Roseland Community Hospital in Chicago, IL. Jackson was accompanied by Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, an immunologist at the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Health (NIH) and is one of the lead scientists who developed the COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition, Corbett conducts basic and preclinical research and worked on pre-clinical development of the mRNA-1273 vaccine against COVID-19. As part of an ongoing effort, Rev. Jackson and Corbett are collaborating with Roseland Community Hospital to spread awareness and encourage Americans, especially minorities, those with compromised immune systems and the elderly that the inoculations of the vaccine are safe, and it will help save lives especially in Chicago communities.

“Right now, there is a lack of trust in medical establishments,” said Corbett. “The hope is that seeing an influential figure such as Rev. Jackson receive the vaccine will positively influence community to follow suit.”

As of January 6, The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 7,569 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 139 additional deaths, bringing the total number of known infections in Illinois to 999,288 and the statewide death toll to 17,096 in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from December 30, 2020 – January 5, 2021 is 8.4%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from December 30, 2020 – January 5, 2021 is 9.9%.

“We need to ensure eradicating this horrible virus from our lives and move on to our new normal,” said Jackson. “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted existing disparities in our nation and specifically in the Black community resulting in a hospitalization rate 3.7 times greater and a death rate 2.8 times greater than that of the White community. We need our strong leadership in our government to have the vaccines administered to people of color as soon as possible before the death rate rises to catastrophic proportions.”

Jackson closed the event with a statement “The historical past of the Tuskegee Experiment did not have the benefit of science and statistics, expertise and technology. Science upholds the need and viability of the COVID-19 vaccine … at that time, we did not have African American doctors, researchers doing the experiment, we did not have more than 60 African American Congressional Leaders, more than one third of America’s top-100 cities are governed by African Americans and more than 100 state elected officials. Building equity in plans to distribute the vaccines including culturally sensitive, multi-lingual outreach tailored for local communities will be essential for closing gaps in health outcomes.”

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