Two new mass vaccination sites - one at Chicago State University and a second just outside Wrigley Field - are set to open in Chicago next week.
Meanwhile, four suburban mass vaccination sites are expected to open to all eligible Illinois residents.
And what should you do with your vaccination record card?
Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
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Can You Drink After Getting the COVID Vaccine? Illinois Doctor Weighs In
Can you drink alcohol after getting the coronavirus vaccine?
It's a question some have been asking as eligibility in Illinois continues to expand and more people prepare for their first or second dose.
The answer, according to an Illinois doctor with Cook County Health, is yes, but there's a catch.
"It's a great question. The simple, short answer is yes," Dr. Mark Loafman, chair of family and community medicine for Cook County Health, told NBC Chicago. "There's no prohibition against drinking alcohol. It wasn't specifically studied and there's an assumption that some, you know, an average number of people in the study did use alcohol during the study, but it wasn't specifically measured."
"Excessive" alcohol consumption, however, can lead to a weakened immune system, Loafman said.
Read more here.
Getting Your Second Dose of the COVID Vaccine? Here's What You Should Know
If you're awaiting your second shot of the coronavirus vaccine, chances are you've got some questions.
What are the side effects and when are you likely going to experience them? How long do you have to wait until you are fully vaccinated?
Lightfoot Sounds Alarm Bells Over ‘Quantum Leap' in New Daily COVID Cases in Chicago
Health officials in Chicago are continuing to sound alarm bells amid a “quantum leap” in new coronavirus cases in the city, saying that a failure to curtail those gains could cause some restrictions to be re-imposed after they were loosened earlier this year.
Speaking at a press availability on Wednesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says that the daily number of new cases in the city has more than doubled in recent weeks, saying that any further loosening of coronavirus restrictions will have to be paused as a result.
“We’re concerned, (because) we have over 400, almost 500 new cases on average as of today. That is a quantum leap from where we were even three weeks ago,” Lightfoot said. “That is concerning, and that is obviously dictating that we have to proceed with caution. We’re not going to see anything more significant on the reopening front until we see those numbers stabilize and start to come down.”
Read more here.
Aurora ‘Pop-up' Vaccination Site at Fox Valley Mall to Launch Thursday
The city of Aurora plans to create a “pop-up” coronavirus vaccination site at the former Carson Pirie Scott store inside of the Fox Valley Mall, and the first event at the new store will be a large-scale vaccination clinic targeting individuals in the Black, Latinx and Indian communities in the city.
According to a press release, a 1,000-shot clinic will be hosted at the site on Thursday. The Unity Vax Aurora program will conduct the first event in partnership with Black Vax Aurora, Latin Vax Aurora and Indian Vax Aurora, a series of outreach efforts designed to get the COVID vaccine into the arms of individuals from communities where “vaccine hesitancy” is still an issue, according to the release.
Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin will receive his first dose of the Moderna vaccine on Thursday, with U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, a former nurse, helping to administer the treatment.
Cook County Vaccine: 8K Appointments to Be Released Wednesday
Cook County Health will release 8,000 first-dose COVID vaccine appointments Wednesday evening for individuals in Phases 1A, 1B and 1C.
The appointments will be released at 6 p.m. Wednesday and can be booked on the Cook County vaccine website or by calling the county's hotline at (833) 308-1988. The call center will remain open until 10 p.m. Wednesday to accommodate the release, officials said.
Cook County's vaccination appointments are open to all eligible Illinois residents. The appointments released Wednesday will be for four of the county's five mass vaccination sites.
Illinois Meets Vaccine Metric to Move to Bridge Phase, But State Won't Advance Yet: IDPH
Illinois has now met the vaccination metric required to move to its new Bridge Phase, a transition phase before fully reopening, but the state isn't advancing just yet, health officials said Wednesday.
While 70% of Illinois residents age 65 and older have now received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, the state's health department said "not all of the metrics needed to advance to the Bridge Phase and on to Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan have been met."
"The number of people being admitted to the hospital in Illinois due to COVID-19 continues to increase," IDPH said in a release Wednesday. "As long as new hospital admissions continue to increase, the state will not advance. The number of cases of COVID-19 has seen an increasing trend as well. Health officials continue to urge all residents to continue to mask up, socially distance, and avoid crowds to reduce transmission and bring the metrics back in line to transition to the Bridge Phase."
Read more here.
Coronavirus in Illinois: 2,592 New COVID Cases, 28 Deaths, 137K Vaccinations
Health officials in Illinois on Wednesday reported more than 2,500 new coronavirus cases and 28 additional deaths, along with more than 137,000 vaccinations in the past 24 hours.
According to figures from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the 2,592 new confirmed and probable COVID cases reported in the last day brought the state’s total to 1,244,585 cases since the pandemic began last year.
The 28 new deaths lifted the state's death toll to 21,301 fatalities related to the virus, according to health officials.
Read more here.
Lake County Fairgrounds Expands COVID Vaccine Eligibility to Phase 1B Plus
The Lake County Fairgrounds vaccination site expanded COVID-19 vaccine availability this week to those eligible in Phase 1B Plus, which includes additional underlying health conditions, the health department announced.
The Lake County Health Department opened vaccination appointments at the Fairgrounds to those eligible in Phase 1B Plus on Tuesday, after partners in the county moved into the expanded phase last week.
Anyone who lives or works in Lake County can register in the AllVax Portal located here. Appointments can also be made by calling (847) 377-8130.
Laminate It? Carry It? What You Should Do With Your Vaccination Record Card
Once you get your coronavirus vaccine, you’re often given a COVID-19 vaccination record card, with the CDC logo in the upper right corner.
"Those vaccine cards are really important. They provide proof that you were, indeed, vaccinated," said Dr. Kiran Joshi, co-lead of the Cook County Department of Public Health.
The vaccination cards are so sought after, dupes of the cards are even being sold online. Security experts also warn people against posting photos of their card on social media.
Both Staples and Office Depot are offering to laminate vaccination cards for free, but some are asking if sealing the card in plastic is too permanent.
Dr. Joshi said he understand why people would want to preserve it, but the additional lines at the bottom of the card, marked "Other," are there for a reason.
Read more here.
State Launching New Mass Vaccination Sites in Multiple Suburbs for All Eligible Illinois Residents
Four suburban mass vaccination sites are expected to open to all eligible Illinois residents this week. New locations are set to open in Kane, Lake and Will counties with another site in Grundy County expanding to all eligible state residents regardless of where they live. Details here.
2 Mass Vaccination Sites to Open in Chicago Next Week, Including 1 Near Wrigley Field
Two new mass vaccination sites - one at Chicago State University and a second just outside Wrigley Field - are set to open in Chicago next week, officials announced Tuesday.
Beginning April 5, Chicago residents eligible under Phase 1C of the city's COVID vaccine rollout will be able to get a vaccine from Chicago State University or the American Airlines Conference Center at Gallagher Way next to Wrigley Field.
Appointments for the new sites are expected to be released "later this week" on the city's Zocdoc scheduling platform, with additional appointments expected to post each day.
Will County Expands COVID Vaccine Eligibility to Phase 1B-Plus
Will County has now entered Phase 1B-Plus of its COVID vaccine rollout, the county's health department announced Tuesday.
Health officials said that between Tuesday and April 12, when the state is expected to make all residents 16 and older eligible, vaccine appointments can by those who currently qualifies under state guidelines.
Note: For COVID-19, the herd-immunity threshold is estimated to be between 60 and 90 percent. Our analysis considers herd immunity reached at 75% of the population fully vaccinated based on estimates by Dr. Anthony Fauci.