The FDA has authorized emergency use of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 12 to 15. What can parents expect to happen next? And how can they sign their kids up?
Meanwhile, Illinois' top doctor has weighed in on if a COVID vaccine booster shot may be needed in the future.
Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois this weekend:
Where You Can Get COVID Vaccines for Kids Ages 12-15 in the Chicago Area
Following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's emergency use authorization of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 12 to 15 Monday, parents are searching for when and where they can get doses for their children in the Chicago area.
A number of health departments across the Chicago area have announced plans to begin vaccines as early as Thursday, pending a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
COVID Booster Vaccine Could Be Needed By Fall, Chicago's Top Doc Details
As word circulates around whether or not an a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot will be necessary in coming months, Chicago's top doctor said she could see an additional dose being required by fall.
The need for a booster shot likely won't depend on how effective any of the three COVID vaccines are, according to Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. Rather, another shot could aid in protecting against any possible new variants that could arise during the summer.
"Where we would need a booster is not because one of the three vaccines we have lost how effective it is," Arwady said. "Most likely it's more that we could see a new variant emerge that the vaccines are no longer protective against, and that could happen just in the next few months."
She noted that the vaccine companies would need to gain additional research before bringing a potential booster to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which she says could take two to three months.
Read more here.
When Might Children Under 12 Be Eligible to Receive COVID Vaccine?
According to experts, those under 12 likely won't be able to receive the COVID vaccine until later this year or early next year.
Both Pfizer and Moderna have begun U.S. studies in children ages 6 months to 11 years. Those studies explore whether babies, preschoolers and elementary-age kids will need different doses than teens and adults. Dr. Bill Gruber, a Pfizer senior vice president who’s also a pediatrician, told the Associated Press that Pfizer expects its first results in the fall.
"Both Pfizer and Moderna currently have studies that are ongoing for vaccine down to six months so maybe into next year we may actually see vaccine for our people less than 12 years of age, so stay tuned for that and keep looking out," Dr. Candice Robinson, medical director for the Chicago Department of Public Health, said.
Chicago's top doctor said results could come as early as September.
Read more here.
Should You Eat Before Receiving the COVID Vaccine? Chicago's Top Doc Answers
In preparation for the COVID-19 vaccine, should you eat a full meal beforehand? Chicago's top doctor gave her recommendation Tuesday.
During a Facebook Live event, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said people should eat before receiving any shot or having blood drawn.
"I always recommend that if someone's going to get their blood drawn or get a shot that you should just eat a good breakfast or a good lunch," Arwady said. "Make sure you've had plenty of water that day. That's really all you need to do related to preparation before the COVID vaccine shot. You don't need to take any medication in advance."
She added that individuals with food should meet with their physicians to ensure nothing interacting with the vaccine would cause a reaction.
Read more here.
Does the COVID Vaccine Contain the Virus? No and It Won't Make You ‘Shed' Spike Proteins Either
Does the COVID vaccine contain the virus? No, and it won't make you "shed" spike proteins or transmit COVID-19 to others in any way, experts say, explaining how the vaccines work in an effort to swat down rumors and misinformation.
Misinformation about the coronavirus has been rampant on social media since the pandemic began, and vaccinations are no different. One rumor that's popped up is that unvaccinated people can get sick simply from contact with those who have gotten the COVID vaccine as they "shed" viral particles.
Public health experts and medical professionals across the board say that this type of "shedding" is absolutely not happening with the COVID vaccines - and that understanding how the vaccines work is key to knowing the truth.
Read more here.
What Are the Potential Side Effects for the COVID Vaccine in Kids Ages 12-15?
With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorizing emergency use of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 12 to 15 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expected to recommend the shots for young teens, vaccinations could begin later this week.
Much like vaccinations for young adults, Pfizer's COVID vaccine could bring some mild, but not concerning, side effects for kids as well, health officials say.
The younger teens received the same vaccine dosage as adults and reported the same side effects, mostly sore arms and flu-like fever, chills or aches that signal a revved-up immune system, particularly after the second dose.
Read more here.
Coronavirus in Illinois: 1,562 New COVID Cases, 26 Deaths, 58K Vaccinations
Illinois health officials reported 1,562 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases and 26 additional deaths in the last day, along with more than 58,000 vaccinations administered.
The newly reported coronavirus cases bring the state total to 1,357,953 cases since the pandemic began and lift the total death toll to 22,261, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The statewide positivity rate remained at 2.8% of all tests returning positive results, and the positivity rate for individuals tested in the last seven days dropped to 3.3%, according to IDPH data.
As of Monday, the state has administered over 10 million doses of coronavirus vaccine during the pandemic.
Read more here.
COVID Vaccine for 12-15: Cook County to Open Vaccination Sites to Kids This Week
Cook County plans to open its mass vaccination sites to children ages 12 to 15 later this week after the Pfizer vaccine receives its anticipated approval from federal regulators to expand to kids in that age group.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday authorized emergency use of Pfizer's vaccine in children ages 12 to 15. The FDA's decision will now be followed by a meeting of the CDC's federal vaccine advisory committee, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (known as ACIP), on Wednesday to discuss whether to recommend the shot for that age group.
Cook County Health said Tuesday that the ACIP is "expected to issue a similar approval after its meeting."
"Cook County Health is looking forward to welcoming newly-eligible adolescents age 12-15 for vaccination later this week," the county said.
The county noted that parents will be able to make appointments for their children ages 12 to 15 online once CDC approval has been granted, adding that the county's mass vaccination sites will continue to accept walk-ins.
Read more here.
Kids Ages 12-15 Can Get Vaccinated at Chicago Sites Starting Thursday, City Says
Chicago's COVID-19 vaccination sites will open to children ages 12 to 15 beginning Thursday, with the option to book appointments now, the city has announced.
All city-operated vaccination sites offering the two-dose Pfizer vaccine will open to children ages 12 to 15 on Thursday, the Chicago Department of Public Health said in a statement Tuesday, one day after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of Pfizer's vaccine in children in that age group.
The FDA's decision does not mean shots are available for kids yet, with the vaccine's expanded use on children still awaiting a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Still, CDPH said appointments can be booked now for city-run sites in anticipation that federal regulators will allow the vaccine for children by Thursday, noting that the CDC "is expected to grant full approval on Wednesday."
The Chicago sites that will offer the Pfizer vaccine to children, as well as their locations and hours, include:
- A.A.C.C. @ Gallagher Way Wrigley Field, located at 1119 W. Waveland
- 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
- Apostolic Faith Church, located at 3823 S. Indiana
- 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday
- Chicago State University Walk-Up, located at 9501 South King Drive (Emil and Patricia A. Jones Convocation Center)
- Noon-6 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
- United Center Drive-Thru, located at 1724 W. Madison
- 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day
- Richard J. Daley College, located at 7500 S. Pulaski
- Noon-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
- Wilbur Wright College, located at 4300 N. Narragansett
- Noon-6 p.m. Wednesday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
- Loretto Hospital, located at 645 S. Central
- Noon-6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
Appointments can be booked for Chicago sites through www.zocdoc.com/vaccine or by calling the city's call center at 312.746.4835. Chicago officials said all vaccine sites will also accept walk-ins for ages 12 to 15 beginning Thursday. A parent or guardian must accompany any minor under age 18, the city said, and unvaccinated parents and guardians will be encouraged to receive a vaccine as well.
Can Schools Require the COVID Vaccine? Pritzker, Chicago's Top Doctor Weigh In
The Food and Drug Administration expanded the emergency use authorization of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to adolescents age 12 to 15 Monday, paving the way for students to get vaccinated before school begins in the fall.
Across the country, a number of colleges and health care institutions have started to mandate the vaccine, but will schools do the same? And are they legally permitted to?
In a Facebook live question-and-answer session Thursday, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady explained she read legal analysis on the topic, and said schools could likely mandate the vaccine, even while it's under emergency use authorization, as the country remains in a public health emergency.
"It’s going to be a big conversation," she said. "I think at schools, really across the country, having a fully-approved vaccine, including for kids, I think is one of the first steps in that conversation."
In Chicago, multiple other vaccines are required for Chicago Public Schools students, Arwady pointed out, however students can obtain a written exemption from a physician.
When asked about imposing a potential mandate at schools, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he's listening to scientists to determine the best course to take.
"We'll see what percent of the population at schools this spring show up to get vaccinated," Pritzker said Thursday. "And over the summer, and you know, we'll have to make some decisions about that as well."
For a complete guide to COVID vaccine appointments in Illinois, click here
COVID Vaccine for 12-15: What to Know as FDA Authorizes Pfizer Shots for Kids
Now that the FDA has authorized emergency use of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 12 to 15 Monday, what can parents expect?
When could kids 12 to 15 get the COVID vaccine? Is it safe for children? How effective is it for younger groups? Where will parents be able to sign their kids up for their shots? Do children experience the same side effects? Will the vaccine be required by schools in Illinois?
Illinois to ‘Ramp Down' COVID Vaccine Orders as Supply Begins to Outpace Demand
The state of Illinois is "going to ramp down" the number of COVID vaccine doses it orders from the federal government each week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday, with demand for vaccinations falling as more people have gotten their shots.
"Illinois, like the nation as a whole, has reached a point where, by and large, all the people who were immediately eager to get vaccinated, have already been vaccinated," Pritzker said in a news conference Monday announcing a new program to deploy vaccination teams to workplaces and commercial buildings.
When asked if the state would be decreasing its orders of vaccine from the federal government, Pritzker said Illinois was "in process right now" to do just that, but would have the option to increase vaccine supply later if needed.
Read more here.
Illinois Set to Move into Bridge Phase Friday. Here's What That Means For You
Currently in Phase 4 of its reopening plan, Illinois is preparing to enter the Bridge Phase at the end of this week, marking the start of a transitional period before the final Phase 5.
The Bridge Phase will begin Friday, allowing for higher capacity limits at places like museums, zoos and spectator events as well as increased business operations during a transitional period between the current guidelines and a full reopening.
So what changes between Phase 4 and the Bridge Phase? Here's a breakdown by category.
COVID Vaccinations Coming to Workplaces in Chicago and Across Illinois
Teams to vaccinate people against COVID-19 will be dispatched to workplaces and commercial buildings in Chicago and across Illinois, officials announced Monday.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the program in a joint news conference with health officials and other community leaders.
The effort will begin in mid-May with 10 sites in Chicago, Schaumburg and Rockford in the first wave of the program. Those sites are:
- Merchandise Mart, 222 West Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago
- Harris Bank Building, 115 S. LaSalle Street, Chicago
- 540 W. Madison Street, Chicago
- Equitable Building, 401 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago
- 150 N. Riverside Plaza, Chicago
- 311 South Wacker (Walgreens at 250 S Wacker Dr), Chicago
- Wrigley Building, 400-410 North Michigan Avenue (Walgreens at 410 N Michigan Ave), Chicago
- 308 W. State Street, Rockford
- 1111 S. Alpine Road, Rockford
- 1061 American Lane, Schaumburg
Illinois Says More Than 4,700 COVID Cases in State Involve Variant Strains of Virus
More than 4,700 cases of coronavirus in the state of Illinois involve variant strains of the virus, including more than 3,000 cases of a variant that originated in the United Kingdom, health officials announced Sunday.
According to the latest figures from the Illinois Department of Public Health, a total of 4,751 cases of coronavirus involve variant strains.
Of those, 3,170 have been identified as the B.1.1.7 variant, which originated in the United Kingdom and has become one of the most prevalent strains of the virus in the United States.
That variant, according to IDPH officials, spreads more easily and rapidly than previous strains of the virus, and has been shown in some studies to be more deadly.
Family, Friends Remember Bolingbrook Teen Who Died Days After Testing Positive For COVID
Family and friends are remembering a Bolingbrook teen who died just two days after testing positive for coronavirus, holding a vigil and a balloon release Saturday evening in her honor.
Dykota Morgan, 15, was a freshman at Bolingbrook High School. Her family told NBC 5 she played several sports, was pretty healthy, and didn’t have any pre-existing conditions. They hope that by sharing her story people will take the virus seriously and get vaccinated.
Relying on each other for love and support, this week has been unimaginable for family and of Dykota.
“I’m so thankful that everyone was able to come out and just show their appreciate for the life that my daughter lived,” said Morgan’s father Rashad Bingham.
What Happens if You Miss Your Second COVID Vaccine Dose?
More and more Americans have been vaccinated in recent weeks, but the number of those who've skipped their second dose has risen as well.
More than 5 million people, around 8% of those who received one shot of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, didn't get their second dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But what if, for whatever reason, you missed your second shot?
According to the CDC, the second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible, which is 21 days for the Pfizer vaccine and 28 days for Moderna's. However, the shot can be given up to 42 days after the first dose "when a delay is unavoidable," the agency added.
Read more here.
Fully Vaccinated? Here's Where to Score a Deal in the Chicago Area
Are you fully vaccinated against COVID-19? Don't miss the latest deals offered across the Chicago area, as various businesses have already begun serving up bargains for vaccinated individuals.
Here's where to find COVID vaccination deals nearby.
Hosting a Wedding, Graduation Party or Private Event in the Chicago Area? Here's What You Need to Know
Graduation and wedding seasons are fast approaching and this year's events will be unlike any other.
While most events were canceled or dramatically scaled down last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, more widely available vaccines and early signs of improvements in COVID metrics have enabled some jurisdictions to loosen restrictions on in-person gatherings.
To learn more on capacity limits and other new guidelines, click here.
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