Appointments are already available for children across the Chicago area to schedule their COVID-19 vaccinations as doses arrive in parts of the area and shots begin.
In Chicago, those appointments could come with a special treat.
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
Kids Who Receive a COVID Vaccine in Chicago Will Be Eligible for a $100 in Visa Gift Cards, Officials Say
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All children ages 5 to 11 will be eligible for a $100 Visa gift card when receiving a COVID vaccine dose at any Chicago-sponsored event or clinic, health officials announced Wednesday.
The Chicago Department of Public Health detailed plans to begin offering COVID-19 vaccines to children under age 12 starting Wednesday, heading into the weekend.
Two $50 gift cards will be provided -- one for each COVID vaccine shot, health officials noted, adding that booster shots will not qualify for the incentive.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi Co-Sponsors Bill to Make Diwali a Federal Holiday
Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi has agreed to co-sponsor a piece of legislation to make the observation of Diwali a national holiday in the United States, saying that it is a critical holiday that can allow Americans to “celebrate…the triumph of light over darkness” amid the ongoing COVID pandemic.
The legislation, introduced in the House by New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney, would make Diwali the 12th federal holiday recognized by the United States.
“The celebration of the triumph of light over darkness is especially important during this pandemic,” Krishnamoorthi said on social media.
Chicago to Begin Offering COVID Vaccines for Kids
Chicago health officials announced plans to begin offering COVID-19 vaccines to children under age 12 starting this week, heading into the weekend.
The Chicago Department of Public Health said clinics and mobile vaccination sites located at public schools throughout the city will begin offering Pfizer's children vaccine to kids.
Walgreens, CVS to Begin Offering COVID Vaccines for Kids Under 12 This Weekend
Walgreens and CVS will soon be administering COVID vaccines to children under 12 years old, with appointments already being offered as of Wednesday.
Both pharmacy chains announced plans to begin administering shots this weekend.
Late Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the final OK for youngsters age 5 to 11 to get kid-size doses of the vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech.
IDPH Releases Details on COVID Vaccines for Kids 5-11 After CDC Recommendation
Illinois' health department released its plans for coronavirus vaccinations for kids as young as 5 Wednesday, one day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the shots.
Late Tuesday, the CDC gave the final OK for youngsters age 5 to 11 to get kid-size doses of the vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech.
The Illinois Department of Public Health said Wednesday that it plans to align with the CDC's recent guidance.
Read more here.
Kids 5 to 11 May Now Get a COVID-19 Vaccine. Here's What Parents Need to Know
Vaccinations finally are available to U.S. children as young as 5, to the relief of some parents even as others have questions or fears.
Late Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the final OK for youngsters age 5 to 11 to get kid-size doses of the vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech. Pediatricians and other doctors' groups praised the move and are gearing up to help families decide whether to vaccinate their children.
The shots could be available as soon as Wednesday and will be offered at pediatricians offices, clinics and pharmacies. Like COVID-19 vaccines for adults, they are free.
Read more here.
Is It Safe to Bring Your Child to See Santa in Person? Chicago's Top Doc Answers
It's the holiday season and in-person Santa visits are returning to Illinois stores and malls, but how safe is it?
While children could soon begin receiving COVID vaccinations, they may not be fully vaccinated in time for the holiday tradition, but Chicago's top doctor said other precautions will likely be in place.
"I think certainly my guess is that Santas are getting tested for COVID," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a Facebook Live Tuesday. "If you know what I mean? I would I would guess that Santas are - they're being extra careful. And certainly I'm sure any of the larger stores would be doing that."
She added that indoor mask mandates remain in place, which help to lower the risk, particularly for children who aren't eligible for vaccination yet.
Read more here.
COVID Vaccine Side Effects for Kids Under 12: What Parents Need to Know
Some parents are eagerly awaiting the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines for kids age 5 through 11, with the Centers for Disease Control's approval possible as early as Tuesday.
Others remain hesitant, worried about serious side effects and the possibility of longterm impacts. Doctors, however, overwhelmingly assert the benefits of vaccinating children are clear and outweigh the risks.
While a small portion of children suffer from severe disease, it's less likely for children to develop serious complications compared to adults.
Fully vaccinating 1 million kids ages 5 to 11 would prevent 58,000 COVID infections, 241 hospitalizations, 77 ICU stays and one death, according to a modeled scenario published by the Food and Drug Administration last week. Up to 106 kids would suffer from vaccine-induced myocarditis but most would recover, according to the agency.
Children are experiencing less side effects overall, according to Dr. Jackie Korpics with Cook County Health.
But when children do encounter side effects, they're typically similar to the ones experienced by adults and usually after the second dose, too.
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.