The Will County Health Department is planning a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Bolingbrook next week in honor of a local teenager who died from the novel disease last month.
Dykota Morgan, 15, was a healthy student at Bolingbrook High School when she began showing symptoms of COVID-19 on May 1, according to a news release. She tested positive the next day and her health quickly declined before she ultimately died on May 4 at Central DuPage Hospital.
She died just a week before federal regulators authorized the use of the Pfizer vaccine for children in her age group. Her mother, Krystal Morgan, had already pre-registered Dykota to receive her shot in anticipation of approval.
“I don’t want any parent to feel this void that we have,” Krystal said in the release. “Nobody should have to feel this. This is the worst feeling in the world, especially when you know you did everything you could to protect them.”
Dykota’s father, Rashad Bingham, said in the release his daughter was “in tip-top shape and she had no underlying conditions, and what COVID-19 did to her in such a short time, it can do to any child.”
In her honor, the Will County Health Department announced it will hold a special COVID-19 vaccine clinic on June 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hubert H. Humphrey Middle School, located at 777 Falconridge Way in Bolingbrook.
The clinic will offer first doses of the Pfizer vaccine only, according to the release. Anyone age 12 and older who has not been vaccinated is encouraged to schedule an appointment for their shot at willcountyhealth.org or walk in.
The county also highlighted state data showing that African American residents were getting vaccinated at lower rates than white residents. Vaccination disparities for residents of color has been a focus of several activists and community based organizations.
In response to those groups urging more action to address the disparities, the Will County Health Department hired a vaccine equity manager to focus on more outreach to communities of color in the county. The health department is specifically using the clinic on June 26 and Dykota’s story as a way to encourage African American residents to get vaccinated.
“She always worked to make a difference in life as a friend, a teammate and a caring human being,” said Krystal Morgan in the release. “She would have wanted us to continue her legacy of caring for others by encouraging all families and especially Black families to get vaccinated.”
For more information, visit willcountyhealth.org.