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Religious Leaders Unite to Vaccinate Chicago-area Parochial School Educators to Fight COVID-19

Unprecedented interfaith alliance will vaccinate more than 6,300 educators in Chicago and Cook County starting next week.

Chicago – (Feb. 16, 2021) – Leaders of local religious organizations have come together to form the Alliance of Faith Based Schools and work with Chicago and Cook County departments of public health to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to more than 6,300 full-time employees in their schools starting late this week. The alliance includes leaders from the Catholic, Jewish and Lutheran communities, along with city and county officials and the support of Loyola University Medical Center. 

“We created this alliance from our common commitment to the health and safety of our educators and their students,” said Justin Lombardo, chief human resources officer for the Archdiocese and co-chair of its COVID-19 Task Force. “We were able to come together to protect the health of our teachers and school staffs who have been coming into the schools and working hard during this pandemic.” 

“We are stronger together and working with our wonderful partners at the Archdiocese, who led the creation of this alliance, demonstrates that,” said Rabbi Shlomo Soroka, director of government relations at Agudath Israel of Illinois. “We want to ensure that all school personnel, regardless if they work at a public, private or charter school, are treated as essential workers who deserve equal and timely access to the vaccine.”

School employees will receive emails in the next few days with specific registration details. This vaccination plan addresses only school employees who work in Cook County (including Chicago). Lake County employees have already begun receiving the vaccine through the Lake County Health Department. All employees of schools in the alliance will receive the vaccine, regardless of job title. 

At this time employees are not required to get the vaccine but are encouraged to do so. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated families and communities around the world over the past year. The vaccines that have been approved and deemed safe and effective by federal regulators provide hope against this killer virus. As communities of faith concerned about the sanctity of human life, these religious leaders are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated for the sake of their own health and to promote the common good. 

Vaccinations will be provided at the four sites below: 

  • Loyola University Medical Center, 2160 S. 1st Ave., Maywood
  • Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, 701 W. North Ave., Melrose Park
  • MacNeal Hospital, 3249 S. Oak Park Ave., Berwyn
  • Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov Elementary Hebrew Day school, 3200 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago

Leaders in this Alliance include: 

Rebecca "Star" Albert
Planner for Education Industry 
Vaccine Operation Center
City of Chicago

The Chicago Department of Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine Operations Center

Neil Gupta, MD, MPH, FASGE
CMO, Medical Group and Provider Services
Regional Director, Digestive Health Program
Loyola Medicine

Justin Lombardo 
Chief Human Resources Officer
Archdiocese of Chicago

Rachel Rubin, MD, MPH, FACP
Sr. Public Health Medical Officer and Co-Lead
Cook County Department of Public Health

Rabbi Shlomo Soroka
Director of Government Relations
Agudath Israel of Illinois

Rev. Kris Whitby
Assistant to the President - Mission and Ministry
Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod