COVID-19 vaccines for kids

Notes from the 11/11/21 issue

COVID-19 vaccines for kids

Children ages five to eleven are now able to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and will be eligible for a $50 Visa gift card for each of the two vaccines at any City-sponsored event or clinic. Chicago Public Schools will begin to offer vaccines via mobile vaccination vans and appointments at school clinics; classes are cancelled on November 12 for “Vaccination Awareness Day”. The vaccines are free and no insurance or government ID are required. This news is welcome: COVID-19 hospitalization rates of children spiked nationwide this summer, and unvaccinated teenagers were about ten times more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated teens. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some 8,300 children ages five to eleven have been hospitalized for COVID-19 in the U.S., and at least ninety-four children have died. COVID-19 hospitalization rates are three times as high among Black, Latinx, or Native American children than white children. The vaccine for children is one-third of the dose that is given to adults. Two doses are still required, three weeks apart. Vaccine locations in Chicago can be found at chi.gov/covidvax.

Cleaning house

Clarence Carson, the CPS facilities chief, left his position one week after the Sun-Times revealed conditions at Eberhart Elementary School in the Southwest Side community of Chicago Lawn were so dirty—with cockroaches in the classrooms and no toilet paper or soap in the “filthy” bathrooms—that staff and parents had to clean the building themselves. CPS has outsourced the upkeep of its schools to private companies since 2014. In October, more than a year after announcing they would end their relationship with Aramark, one of two facilities contractors that has repeatedly fallen short of its custodial duties at multiple schools, CPS inked a $369 million, three-year contract with the company. That same month, CPS also initiated a $375 million, three-year contract with a new vendor, the global real-estate management company, Jones Lang LaSalle, to manage the district’s facilities. The new CEO, Pedro Martinez, recognized CPS is going through a “rough transition”.

Not lovin’ it

Chris Kempczinski, the CEO of McDonald’s, headquartered in Fulton Market on the city’s Near West Side, apologized to employees Monday for a text message he sent to Mayor Lori Lightfoot in April. In the text message, which the mayor did not directly respond to, he blamed the parents of Jaslyn Adams and Adam Toledo for the children’s fatal shootings. In the text, Kempczinski wrote “p.s. tragic shootings last week, both at our restaurant yesterday and with Adam Toldeo [sic]. With both, the parents failed those kids which I know is something you can’t say. Even harder to fix.” In an open letter dated November 3, the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and other community organizations cited a culture of “racial discrimination” at McDonald’s restaurants and noted the company’s public statements decrying injustice and racism. The letter demanded Kempczinski meet with Black and brown workers and community leaders by November 10 to present a plan to address systemic racism. As of press time, he had not done so.

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