Federal regulators took a major step toward expanding booster shot eligibility across the U.S.
At the same time, new guidance on whether or not booster shots could come from a different brand than the initial doses.
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
Advocate Aurora Says More Than 400 Employees Fired or Left Due to Vaccine Mandate
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More than 400 employees at Advocate Aurora Health have either left the health care company or been fired for not complying with a vaccine mandate, the hospital group said.
In total, about 440 team members, representing 0.6% of Advocate Aurora's workforce, "were not in compliance and have parted ways with the organization," the group said in a statement.
"With about 99% of our team members compliant or in the process of becoming compliant with our vaccine policy, we are protecting the health and safety of our patients, communities and each other," the statement read.
Read more here.
CDC Panel to Vote on COVID Booster Shots. Here's What to Expect
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel is expected to vote on COVID booster shots Thursday, one day after the Food and Drug Administration signed off on extending COVID-19 boosters to Americans who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The key advisory committee is slated to discuss booster shots of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson's vaccine as well as whether people can mix and match the companies' shots, but it is no the final step in the process.
FDA OKs Mixing COVID Vaccines for Booster Shots, But Can You and Should You Do It?
U.S. regulators on Wednesday said anyone eligible for a COVID vaccine booster shot can get a brand different from the one they received initially.
The move was a key step in the federal push to broaden booster access for the U.S. public. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, guided by its advisory panel, still needs to provide the final blessing.
Influential government advisers are deciding Thursday how best to expand the nation's COVID-19 booster campaign, including whether and when it's OK to “mix and match” brands for the extra dose.
Here's When You Need to Get Your COVID Vaccine to Be Fully Vaccinated By the Holidays
As Illinois health officials advocate for vaccinations ahead of the holiday season and cold winter months, Chicago's top doctor revealed when you would need to get your shots if you want to be fully vaccinated for holiday gatherings.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady gave dates to receive the first and single vaccine doses in order to be fully vaccinated by Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa.
FDA OKs Mixing COVID Vaccines; Backs Moderna, J&J Boosters
U.S. regulators on Wednesday signed off on extending COVID-19 boosters to Americans who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine and said anyone eligible for an extra dose can get a brand different from the one they received initially.
The Food and Drug Administration’s decisions mark a big step toward expanding the U.S. booster campaign, which began with extra doses of the Pfizer vaccine last month. But before more people roll up their sleeves, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will consult an expert panel Thursday before finalizing official recommendations for who should get boosters and when.
Read more here.
The Delta Variant Has a Mutation That's Worrying Experts: Here's What We Know So Far
A newly-discovered mutation of the delta variant is being investigated in the U.K. amid worries that it could make the virus even more transmissible and undermine Covid-19 vaccines further.
Still, there are many unknowns surrounding this descendent or subtype of the delta variant — formally known as AY.4.2 — which some are dubbing the new "delta plus" variant.
U.K. government health officials have said it's too early to tell whether the mutation poses a greater risk to public health than the delta variant, which itself is significantly more infectious than the original Covid-19 strain (and its successor, the alpha variant).
Read more here.
White House Unveils New Details of Plans to Vaccinate 28 Million American Children
Children age 5 to 11 will soon be able to get a COVID-19 shot at their pediatrician's office, local pharmacy and potentially even their school, the White House said Wednesday as it detailed plans for the expected authorization of the Pfizer shot for younger children in a matter of weeks.
Federal regulators will meet over the next two weeks to weigh the benefits of giving shots to kids, after lengthy studies meant to ensure the safety of the vaccines.
The plan is pending both FDA and CDC approval.
Read more here.
Judge Denies Police Union's Effort to Recuse Her From Case
A judge who ordered the president of Chicago's police officers' union to stop publicly encouraging his members to disobey the city's COVID-19 vaccine mandate on Wednesday refused the union's request to recuse herself from the case.
The union wanted Cook County Judge Ceclila Horanto recuse herself because of what its attorney, Joel D'Alba, called the “appearance of impropriety.” The law firm where Horan was a partner before she became a judge had been involved with a task force that helped create a consent decree — widely criticized by the union — aimed at overhauling the police force a few years ago.
During the hearing, Horan said, "I did not know about the task force report at all when I was a partner at the firm.”
The latest updates here.
Illinois Prepares to Increase Booster Shots as More Residents Set to Become Eligible
Illinois health officials detailed a plan Tuesday to get more COVID-19 booster shots in the arms of residents across the state as more doses become available.
With more residents expected to become eligible for boosters in coming weeks, the Illinois Department of Public Health plans to increase education and provide skilled nursing facilities to administer shots.
“We know that COVID-19 vaccines are life-saving," Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. "For our seniors, you’re 29 times more likely to end up in the hospital if you’re unvaccinated. Boosters will extend that life-saving protection."
Read more here.
10 Myths About COVID-19 Vaccine For Kids, Busted By Chicago Pediatricians
The FDA is planning to meet soon to discuss the next eligible age group, children ages 5-11, for the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, and pediatricians are preparing to administer the shots, once the vaccine is approved.
Doctors at Advocate Children’s Hospital have been talking with families and parents, listening to their questions and concerns. Misinformation about the vaccine is a big concern for Advocate doctors, who composed a list of the top myths they’re hearing.
Read the top 10 myths here.