Apr 22, 2024 - News

Chicagoans speak out to support immunization efforts

Illustration of a human silhouette next to a vaccine syringe silhouette

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

On World Immunization Week, local voices like restaurateur and author Ina Pinkney are reminding folks about the importance of vaccines.

Why it matters: Low vaccination rates have driven more measles cases in Illinois in 2024 than in the last decade combined, while tuberculosis is hitting local migrant shelters and polio has returned to some areas.

Zoom in: Pinkney is a global advocate for people with post polio syndrome, which can strike decades after contracting the disease. She recently shared her story in the Washington Post.

What she's saying: "I had polio 11 years before there was a vaccine and so I'm very concerned that vaccination rates dropped precipitously during the pandemic and many children are now way behind their shots," Pinkney, 81, tells Axios.

What's next: Chicago health officials remind that city immunization clinics provide vaccines to children up to 18 years old for no out-of-pocket costs.

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