Illinois administered approximately 188,800 doses of Updated COVID-19 Vaccines Since the reworked shots arrived last week, according to the state health department. The city announced Friday that in Chicago alone, where nearly two million residents are now eligible for the shot, more than 32,000 doses have been given.
Anyone 12 years of age or older who has completed the primary vaccine series can receive the new shot, which is intended to provide additional protection against the original strain of COVID and the dominant sub-variants of omicron. Public health officials stressed that a large number of people who get a booster dose will help prevent the spread of the virus.
“It is important for every eligible person to obtain the latest vaccines and boosters as soon as possible, before a potential fall and winter surge leads to an increase in infections,” Illinois Director of Public Health Dr. Samir Vohra said Friday in a statement. .
About 44% of the doses given in Illinois so far have gone to people over 65, according to the state health department.
Dr. Alison Arwady, Chicago’s chief medical officer, said in a statement Friday that she is concerned about the low response rate of blacks and Latinos in Chicago. About 65% of the boosters administered in the city have so far gone to white residents, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health, whose statistics only run until Wednesday.
COVID cases in Chicago have fallen in recent weeks — the city averages about 400 new cases per day, not including home testing — but officials are stressing the possibility of a seasonal increase.
In the past two years, colder months have meant a spike in COVID cases, including last December when Omicron first appeared in the US and led to massive increases in infections and hospitalizations.
“We would be very lucky if” another surge is avoided this year, Arwady said, but the severity may depend on how many people eventually roll up their sleeves for the new vaccine.
“The vaccine is partly about yourself, but it’s also about your family, your community, and those most at risk,” Arwady said in a Facebook Live broadcast on Tuesday. “Vaccination helps. Of course, it does not completely prevent COVID, but it is very important to prevent severe COVID and it also reduces the risk of even infection.”
Dr. Emily Landon, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Chicago, said the unknown long-term effects of the virus are reason enough to do your best to avoid infection all together.
“There is a good reason to avoid the persistence of COVID,” Landon said. “Sure, you’ll probably do a great job, even if you get a round or two of COVID, but how many times are you going to roll the dice before you hit the number you don’t want.
“I think we should do more as a society to avoid getting COVID and we need more voices in our community saying, ‘Yeah, I want to avoid getting COVID, even if it’s not that bad, because I don’t want that long-term risk. “
Landon said getting through the colder months safely means watching trends and doing an individual risk assessment.
If there’s a new contagious variant or numbers are starting to rise in your area, Landon advises doing more things outside, wearing a mask when you’re indoors and trying to be creative in rearranging things.
And when you wear the mask indoors, Landon advises wearing the best mask possible — such as N95 or KN95. More important than the mask you choose is how it fits, she said, noting that it should be closed and tightly closed to your face.
In addition to COVID, there are also the usual winter viruses, such as influenza, which can spread more easily this year.
“This is the first flu season we’ve been in in the last two years where we’ve really reduced mitigation, so we don’t have a lot of wearing masks and social distancing and so on,” Dr. Mia Taormina, an infectious disease specialist at Health and Care in Chicago, told WBEZ Re-Set.
In a press release on Wednesday, Arwady said, “This is not a year to skip the flu shot.”
The city benefits from Mass vaccination sites at city colleges to get a flu shot and an updated COVID booster for people, which can be given at the same time.
Courtney Kuipers is Producer/Digital Correspondent at WBEZ. follow her Tweet embed.
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