They knocked on strangers’ doors and persuaded naysayers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Here are their tips.

When Armani Nightengale waited in the car last March to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at the United Center, her husband was more nervous than she was.

Over the next couple of weeks, he carefully checked her arm to make sure nothing looked wrong. Then, the conversation shifted to when he would get the shot.

That’s when things got more “combative,” Nightengale said, as she began asking why he was reluctant, especially given that they had three young children. Her husband, on the other hand, felt unsure about how signing up for the vaccine would affect his immigration status.

But in December, after months of evolving conversations on the benefits of getting inoculated, he agreed.

“I was speaking as an African American woman who was born and raised in America; he is a white male from Europe,” said Nightengale, a 26-year-old who lives in South Shore. “So it was like, how do we combine these two conversations?”

Nightengale is used to these high-stakes discussions as a member of the city’s COVID-19 Community Response Corps, run by the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. She is one of about 800 Chicagoans hired by the city for tasks ranging from contact tracing to monitoring the coronavirus hotline to promoting the vaccine through canvassing neighborhoods.


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