At the end of April 2021, Warehouse Workers for Justice launched the Worker Outreach Program. This initiative aims to provide education, resources, and support to workers on how to protect themselves, their families, and their communities. We have been partnering with the Illinois Department of Public Health to bring safe, free vaccines to workers and their families across Will County and Kankakee County.
Our first event was our two-part Joliet pop-up vaccination clinic on May 5, 2021 and May 26, 2021 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. When folks entered the vaccination site, they were welcomed by our friendly WWJ staff members. WWJ staff set up a table to help people schedule their appointment to receive the second dose to ensure full vaccination coverage.
The Warehouse Workers for Justice organizers did extensive outreach to help members in the Joliet community, who are often underserved, get vaccinated. Through in-person and digital outreach, more than 80 people showed up to get vaccinated at the site location. The majority of vaccine recipients were of the Spanish-speaking community.
Now that there is wider availability and access to the COVID-19 vaccines, more people are fortunately able to get vaccinated. Illinoisians are now able to do a walk-in vaccination even without needing to schedule an appointment. At this time, the main challenge that lies in front of our communities is engaging with members of our family and our community to move from vaccine hesitancy to vaccine confidence.
According to a recent TIME/Harris Poll, 59% of people say their decision to get the vaccine was influenced by just having a conversation with friends or family about why they should get vaccinated. That’s why it is essential that we encourage our loved ones and community members to overcome vaccine hesitancy and make a plan to get vaccinated.
As part of the WWJWorkerOutreach initiative, we will be hosting a number of in-person and virtual trainings to help folks navigate the sometimes challenging conversations to reassure and encourage our vaccine hesitant loved ones to sign up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Those interested are invited to fill out this form to learn more.