coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: US to Pause J&J Vaccine, 35K New Cook County Appointments

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U.S. regulators have called for a pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after six reported cases of rare blood clotting.

Based on that recommendation, Chicago, Cook County and Illinois have all announced that they will pause J&J vaccinations amid a federal review.

Meanwhile, Cook County will open approximately 35,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointments Tuesday, the largest release since January.

Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:

IDPH Says J&J Vaccine Pause ‘Will Not Have a Large Impact' on State Vaccinations

Illinois' decision to pause use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine "will not have a large impact" on the state's vaccination plans, health officials said Tuesday.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced plans to temporarily halt the administration of the single-dose vaccine following a recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as they investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

“Public health officials made a commitment that any safety signals that came up concerning COVID-19 vaccines would be fully addressed in a transparent manner, which is what is occurring right now with the J&J vaccine,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. “The blood clot cases appear to be extremely rare and there are no reported cases associated with either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna vaccines. IDPH is taking immediate action to ensure as little disruption to Illinois residents as possible during this pause, and I strongly encourage people to continue to get vaccinated. Millions upon millions of people have already been safely vaccinated and it will take millions more before we can put this pandemic behind us.” 

Health officials say a majority of Illinois' vaccine doses are from Moderna and Pfizer's vaccines. Of the expected 483,720 doses the state is set to receive next week, 5,800 were set to be Johnson & Johnson.

Read more here.

Chicago, Several Suburbs Cancel Events Over J&J Vaccine Pause

Chicago and several surrounding suburbs have canceled vaccine events following a recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to pause administration of the vaccine as regulators investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

Kane County canceled two vaccination events set for Tuesday in wake of the news.

In Aurora, a state-run mass vaccination site located 970 N. Lake St. was canceled and the 1,000 appointments that had been booked for the clinic will be rescheduled, city officials said in a release. Tuesday was the city's last Johnson & Johnson clinic scheduled so far.

An Elgin vaccination location at 1080 E. Chicago St. was also canceled. Anyone who had appointments for both locations will be rescheduled for a Pfizer dose on April 20.

Read more here.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine and Blood Clots: Symptoms to Watch For, Who is at Risk

What are the symptoms you should watch for if you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine prior to U.S. regulators recommending a “pause” to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or CVST?

To learn more about what you should watch for, click here.

How the ‘Extremely Rare' J&J Reaction Differs From Other Blood Clots, According to Chicago's Top Doctor

U.S. regulators on Tuesday recommended a nationwide pause on administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine amid an investigation into six reports of "extremely rare" but potentially dangerous blood clots.

Those clots occurred in six women between the ages of 18 and 48, six to 13 days after vaccination, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said. All six experienced clots in the veins that drain blood from the brain - known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis - and occurred together with low platelets, health officials said.

More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S., the vast majority with no or mild side effects.

So why did these cases necessitate a pause on the J&J vaccine and how do they differ from other blood clots? Chicago's top doctor explained the reasoning and what experts are watching for in a Facebook Live broadcast on Tuesday.

Here's what she had to say.

IDPH Says Masks No Longer Required for IHSA Athletes Competing in Baseball, Other Low-Risk Sports

The Illinois High School Association’s board of directors announced Tuesday that the Illinois Department of Health has eliminated a requirement for mask-wearing among athletes competing in low-risk outdoor sports, including track and field and baseball.

According to an IHSA press release, the decision impacts athletes competing in several in-season sports, including baseball, bass fishing, softball, tennis and track.

Officials involved in the aforementioned sports must continue to wear masks. Athletes who are not actively competing, including those sitting on the bench, must also wear masks, according to the new IDPH guidance.

Read more here.

COVID Hospitalizations Have Nearly Doubled in Illinois Over Last Month: IDPH

As health officials monitor rapid increases in coronavirus cases in the state of Illinois, hospitalizations have also been on the rise, nearly doubling over the course of the last month.

According to statistics provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health, 2,028 individuals are currently hospitalized in the state because of severe coronavirus symptoms. Of those patients, 466 are in intensive care units, and 185 are on ventilators.

Those numbers are still well below where the state was at its peak in late 2020, but also represent a sharp increase from the low watermark that was set in mid-March, according to IDPH

Read more here.

New Large-Scale COVID Vaccination Site to Open in Southern Cook County This Week

A new large-scale community COVID vaccination site is launching in southern Cook County Wednesday for all residents ages 16 and older.

The new site in Matteson, located at 4647 Promenade Way, and will be run through Cook County Health with assistance from the Illinois National Guard.

The Matteson vaccination site will open Wednesday at 1 p.m. to Cook County residents ages 16 and older after Illinois moved to Phase 2 of vaccine eligibility on Monday. In a press conference Tuesday, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said the site should be able to administer nearly 4,000 vaccines each day.

Read more here.

Walgreens, Jewel-Osco Suspend Use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Following Federal Recommendation

Walgreens and Jewel-Osco are suspending the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine until further, the company announced Tuesday, following federal officials' recommendation.

"Following today’s recommendation from the FDA and CDC for a pause in the use of the J&J vaccine out of an abundance of caution, we are immediately suspending the administration of the J&J vaccine at our stores and off-site clinics and are awaiting further guidance," Walgreens said in a statement.

Osco additionally issued a statement Tuesday, saying the pharmacy will pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine per federal recommendations.

Both companies said workers are reaching out to patients to reschedule appointments using either Pfizer or Moderna vaccine manufacturers. Osco added that appointments are added to the online scheduler as doses become available.

Read more here.

Illinois Allocating 50K First Doses to Chicago Over the Next Week

After Illinois and Chicago both paused use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine amid a federal review on Tuesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the state will allocate 50,000 first doses of the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to Chicago over the next seven days.

The state will then allocate another 50,000 doses in time for second shots to be administered, Pritzker said.

"As cases climb across the country, I encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible," he tweeted. "We can end this pandemic together."

Chicago Health Officials to Give COVID Update After Pausing J&J Vaccine

Chicago health officials will give an update on the city's latest COVID-19 data and vaccine distribution Tuesday afternoon after pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine amid a federal review following six reports of rare but potentially dangerous blood clots.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady and Medical Director Dr. Geraldine Luna are scheduled to deliver the update at 1 p.m., CDPH said in a statement.

The news conference will include "an update on COVID-19 data, and continued vaccine distribution in Chicago, including planned next steps and phases," according to CDPH. The event can be watched live in the video player above.

US Calls for Pause on Use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine After Rare Complications

The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.

In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said they were investigating unusual clots in six women that occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. The clots occurred in veins that drain blood from the brain and occurred together with low platelets. All six cases were in women between the ages of 18 and 48.

More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S., the vast majority with no or mild side effects.

Read more here.

Illinois to Pause Johnson & Johnson Vaccine After FDA and CDC Recommendation

Illinois will pause use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine "out of an abundance of caution" following a recommendation from the CDC and FDA, the state's health department said Tuesday.

"IDPH has notified all Illinois COVID-19 providers throughout the state to discontinue use of the J&J vaccine at this time," the Illinois Department of Public Health said in a statement. "In order to keep appointments, IDPH is strongly advising providers to use Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines."

Health officials say a majority of Illinois' vaccine doses are from Moderna and Pfizer's vaccines. Of the expected 483,720 doses the state is set to receive next week, 5,800 were set to be Johnson & Johnson. This week, the state had received 17,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, officials said.

"IDPH will continue to update the public as additional information becomes available," the department's statement read.

Read more here.

Chicago Pauses J&J Vaccine After CDC and FDA Recommendation

Chicago is pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine, the city said Tuesday, based on U.S. regulators' recommendation.

"Vaccine safety is always our top priority. In accordance with a recommendation from the CDC and FDA, the City of Chicago has paused administering the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine while federal health officials complete a review," the Chicago Department of Public Health said in a statement.

"We are working closely with our partners at the federal and local level to determine how this impacts the city’s vaccine operations," the statement said.

"We are not aware of any local cases. While incredibly rare, anyone who has received the J&J vaccine who develops severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after their vaccination should contact their health provider," the city said. "This recommendation does not affect Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in any way. Vaccination remains critical to protect Chicagoans from COVID-19 and we will share more information as we receive it."

Chicago has received a total of 91,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine in five shipments since February, according to the city's data. It's not clear how many of those doses have already been administered.

Read more here.

Cook County to Pause Use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Amid Federal Review

Cook County is pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, county health officials said Tuesday.

"Following guidance released this morning from the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cook County Health will pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until the FDA and CDC complete their review," a spokeswoman for Cook County Health said in a statement Tuesday morning.

Individuals with appointments for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week will instead receive the first dose of either Moderna or Pfizer's vaccine, depending on the vaccination site, the county said. Anyone who has a scheduled appointment but does not want the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine should call 833-308-1988 to cancel or reschedule their appointment, officials said.

The release of 35,000 appointments slated for Tuesday afternoon will not include Johnson & Johnson, according to the county.

"The Cook County Department of Public Health has asked all Johnson & Johnson partners to pause using the vaccine as well," the county said, adding that it will provide additional information "as it becomes available."

Read more here.

Cook County COVID Vaccine: 35K 1st Dose Appointments to Open Tuesday

Cook County Health officials will release approximately 35,000 single and first-dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments Tuesday, as Illinois expands eligibility across the state, outside of Chicago, to residents 16 years of age and older.

The new appointments will mark the largest release since January, county officials said. The appointments will be released at 3 p.m. Tuesday for all Cook County Health mass vaccination sites, with anyone age 16 and older eligible to book appointments.

County vaccinations will be by appointment only. Appointments can be made at or by calling (833) 308-1988 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, or from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays.

Read more here.

Member of Gov. Pritzker's Staff Tests Positive for COVID-19

An employee with Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office tested positive for COVID-19 during routine testing Monday, the governor's office said.

The employee was not in close contact with the governor Monday or in previous days, according to the governor's press secretary Jordan Abudayyeh. The individual who tested positive recently received their first dose of the COVID vaccine, officials said.

Staff members who were identified as close contacts will follow protocols outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Abudayyeh added, however a number of close contacts wasn't provided.

Read more here.

COVID Vaccine Illinois: How Homebound Residents Can Get Vaccinated

Are you homebound and looking to get vaccinated in Chicago or Cook County? Or maybe you have a friend or relative who is? Programs have been established both in the city of Chicago and suburban Cook County to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to homebound residents.

In Cook County, the Department of Public Health has partnered with health care providers, non-certified local health departments and the Sheriff's Office to vaccinated homebound individuals, according to a spokesman for the Cook County Department of Public Health. Homebound individuals looking to secure an appointment through the program are advised to call the Cook County Vaccine Sign-Up hotline at 1-833-308-1988.

For Chicago residents, in early March the city established the "Protect Chicago Homebound" program, in which Chicago Fire Department paramedics visit residents and administer the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Chicago residents can sign up for the program here.

Read more here.

Additional COVID Vaccine Doses Being Sent to Peoria, LaSalle Counties

As the state of Illinois expands COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to all residents age 16 and older, state officials are also expanding several key programs to help expand vaccine access and stamp out flare-ups of COVID cases.

According to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office, the state’s “Rapid Response Program” will deploy vaccination teams to several Illinois counties this week, including LaSalle, Tazewell, McDonough and Woodford counties. Additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be sent to Peoria County.

The state’s rural vaccination program will also send additional doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to three counties this week, including Iroquois, Vermilion and Clark counties, officials said.

Read more here.

New Round Lake Beach COVID Vaccination Site to Become Largest in Lake County, Officials Say

Lake County health officials say that a new COVID-19 mass vaccination site in suburban Round Lake Beach will become the largest vaccination site in the county when it reaches its peak capacity.

The Lake County Health Department says it will open the new site at the former K-Mart Supercenter in the 400 block of East Rollins Road on April 20.

That site, which will be run in partnership with Baxter and Curative, will provide indoor COVID-19 vaccinations by appointment, and will be available to all who live or work within Lake County.

Appointments can be made by visiting the county’s vaccination website. Appointments will be available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, according to health officials.

Read more here.

COVID-19 Funeral Financial Assistance Now Available

The staggering tolls from COVID-19 led the federal government to declare the pandemic a disaster, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to step in an offer financial help to the more than half million families who have lost loved ones to coronavirus. 

"At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters," said Acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton. “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense grief for so many people. Although we cannot change what has happened, we affirm our commitment to help with funeral and burial expenses that many families did not anticipate."

Starting Monday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (CST), anyone who qualifies can call (844) 684-6333, the dedicated toll-free phone number to get an application completed with help from FEMA's representatives.

Read more here.

Cubs Place 3 Relievers on COVID-19 Injured List

COVID-19 is forcing the Chicago Cubs to make some changes to their roster, with relief pitchers Jason Adam, Dan Winkler and Brandon Workman heading to the COVID-19-related injured list.

That news comes after it was announced that Cubs bullpen coach Chris Young had tested positive for the virus this week. It is not known whether any of the three players tested positive for the virus, with the players giving MLB and the Cubs permission to announce that they had been placed on the COVID list.

Read more here.

4 COVID Variants Becoming 'Much More Prominent' in Illinois, Lab Finds

Four COVID variants currently circulating in the U.S. are becoming "much more prominent" in Illinois as the state battles what health officials say is a rise in cases, data from a state lab has found.

Reditus Laboratories said recent testing revealed "several trending variants" had been identified in Illinois, "causing growing concern" as the variants are believed to be more contagious.

“The variants are becoming much more prominent,” Reditus CEO Dr. Aaron Rossi said. “This is causing growing concern of experts and we need to identify the variants and make sure the public is aware.”

Read more here.

Illinois COVID Vaccine Eligibility Opens: Here's What You Need to Know

Illinois COVID vaccine eligibility expanded to anyone age 16 and older, except for in the city of Chicago, on Monday.

For a look at what you need to know, click here.

Chicago Residents ‘Welcome' to Sign Up For COVID Vaccine Appointments in Suburbs, Officials Say

Chicago residents are welcome to sign up for COVID-19 vaccine appointments at Illinois mass vaccinations sites throughout the suburbs, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said last week.

"They're absolutely welcome to," Pritzker said. "I want to make sure that people in Chicago know that they are welcome to sign up for our mass vaccination sites."

Pritzker said he knows Chicago opens vaccine eligibility to all residents age 16 and older on April 19. Hence, he said, people should feel able to make appointments in the suburbs as the rest of Illinois opens eligibility on Monday.

Read more here.

Illinois Vaccinations

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.


Which COVID Vaccine is Best For You and How Long Do They Last?

As new studies surrounding COVID vaccine efficacy and how long both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines last continue to emerge, how can you know which is best for you?

According to medical experts, the three vaccines currently available in the U.S. each offer some level of protection.

For a breakdown, click here.

What Makes You More Likely to Get Side Effects From COVID Vaccine?

Side effects are possible after receiving either one or two doses of any of the three coronavirus vaccines currently being administered in the U.S., but not everyone experiences them. Experiencing side effects isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it's a sign your body is responding.

So what makes someone more likely to experience them than others?

Women and younger people are more likely to report side effects, experts say, while side effects could also vary depending on whether or not you've had coronavirus.

People are more likely to report side effects after their second dose, Chicago's top doctor said, echoing reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But not getting side effects isn't negative, health experts say.

Read more here.

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