Volunteer groups in a number of cities have started going door to door to promote COVID-19 vaccinations as the threat of the delta variant grows more severe, according to reports.
The delta variant poses a significant danger to unvaccinated individuals, and while 56.6% of all Americans have received at least one dose, efforts have slowed significantly.
Overall, the variant accounts for roughly 83% of all new cases in America.
To try and close the gap and get more vaccines into arms, volunteers and city workers in places like Chicago and Dallas have been going door to door to promote the vaccines.
In Dallas, volunteers can direct unvaccinated individuals to pop-up vaccination sites and offer incentives such as free tickets to Six Flags, the Dallas Zoo or other, similar amusements, FOX 4 News reported.
“We’ve seen it go down to around 15,000 doses per week in Dallas County,” said Dallas County Health Director Dr. Philip Huang. “I’m hearing that we did see a little bit of bump most recently, maybe also due to the increased recognition of how the delta variant is circulating and the impact it’s having on our hospital numbers.”
Hospitalizations in Texas have risen by 150% in the last three weeks, with South Dallas an area of particular focus.
One of the issue is “return rate,” which counts individuals who have been fully vaccinated: Around 14% of Dallas County residents – around 189,000 individuals – have not returned for their second shot.
“It’s not too late to get that second dose,” Dr. Huang said. “Don’t think, ‘I’m behind schedule to get it. I missed my appointment.’ Go ahead. Go back and get that second dose. It’s not too late. It’s better to get it than to not.”
Chicago has also been sending people door to door to encourage individuals to get vaccinated, according to the Hyde Park Herald.
“In one sense, we are talking with people who are vaccinated, but then if we are giving them information, we can give them information then we can spread it to their family, so we are putting information out that way,” said Armani Nightengale, who works for Protect Chicago, adding that the city also holds events.
Volunteers in Las Vegas with the nonprofit Mi Familia Vota have been pushing since June to increase vaccination numbers, focusing on the Latino community in particular.
“The east side is a lot of Hispanics and a lot of Hispanics don’t normally believe in vaccines in my experience, that was the thing with my family,” volunteer Leticia Rios told FOX 5 Las Vegas.
While she occasionally meets resistance, Rios said she largely has found residents to be receptive of her message. She said that by sharing why it is important for her to see others vaccinated, she has been able to change some minds.
“I was a senior in high school and everything had to be shut down … I didn’t have a graduation,” she explained. “I didn’t have a prom … everything got shut down and I got really scared because I was like, ‘When is this going to end?’”
The city has offered pop-up vaccination events, which offer free food to participants, as well as school supplies for children.