coronavirus illinois

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Vaccine Mandate Bill, Top Doc Gets Booster Shot

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

With millions of Americans now eligible to choose which coronavirus booster dose they receive, how can you make the best decision for you? Chicago’s top doctor, Dr. Allison Arwady, broke down Tuesday the best options based on your first dose.

A proposed bill would change the way exemptions to vaccine mandates would work in Illinois, particularly surrounding the coronavirus vaccine.

Meanwhile, Illinois' top doctor is slated to get her booster shot in a Chicago suburb Thursday.

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike to Get Her Booster Shot

Illinois Department of Public Health director Dr. Ngozi Ezike is scheduled to receive her COVID-19 booster vaccination Thursday in Aurora.

Ezike will visit the State of Illinois Community Drive-Thru Vaccination and Testing Site in Aurora and is expected to speak prior to receiving her booster dose.

The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. Watch live in the player above.

Bill Would Remove ‘Conscience' as Basis for Refusing Vaccine

Illinois law has for more than four decades protected those who oppose providing or receiving medical treatment because of their religious beliefs. Now Democrats want an exception to allow repercussions for those who refuse vaccinations in the battle against COVID-19.

Long considered a shield for physicians whose religious beliefs precluded their performing abortions, the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act has become a pandemic lightning rod. Lawsuits invoking it are challenging employers trying to enforce rules requiring testing for or inoculation against the coronavirus.

“The Health Care Right of Conscience Act was never intended to cover a pandemic where we're trying to keep people alive,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, said after a news conference in Springfield Wednesday.

The measure won House approval 64-52 late Wednesday. It now moves to the Senate. Thursday is the final day of the Legislature's fall session.

Read more here.

What You Should Do If You Lost or Damaged Your COVID Vaccine Card

A growing number of establishments and employers are requiring individuals to prove their COVID-19 vaccination status, but as the months pass following the appointments to get the shots, what do individuals have to do if they end up losing or damaging their cards?

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may have its logo on COVID vaccination cards, it does not readily have the information available to print off new ones. Instead, state health departments and health providers will, and that’s where the search for a new card should begin.

Here is who individuals should contact if they need to get a new copy of proof of their COVID vaccinations, according to the CDC.

Read more here.

Should J&J Recipients Get an mRNA Booster? Chicago's Top Doc Explains

Which COVID vaccine booster should you get based on your initial vaccination?

Chicago's top doctor, Dr. Allison Arwady, broke down Tuesday the best options.

Arwady said that while the first doses of the vaccine remain the most important, choosing your booster dose can also be an important decision.

The FDA opened the way for anyone eligible for a booster to get any of the country's three authorized brands for their extra dose. The CDC and its advisors also endorsed “mixing and matching” brands for the extra dose -- a key step in the federal push to broaden booster access for the U.S. public.

But neither agency gave recommendations surrounding combinations of vaccines and booster doses.

So how can you choose?

Here's what Arwady had to say.

Northwestern Students Accused of Stealing 4,500 COVID Test Kits From Campus

Thousands of COVID-19 test kits have been recovered from Northwestern University students who allegedly stole them from an Evanston campus dormitory.

About 4,500 Northwestern-owned COVID-19 test kits were stolen from a secure storage room in a common area of the Foster-Walker Complex at 1927 Orrington Ave., Northwestern University police said in a statement.

Read more here.

COVID Vaccines for Kids Under 12: What Still Needs to Happen Before Shots Can Begin

Children as young as 5 could soon be eligible for coronavirus vaccines as a panel of advisers for the Food and Drug Administration gave Pfizer's child-size COVID vaccine its endorsement Tuesday, but there are still some steps that need to be taken.

Full-strength Pfizer shots already are recommended for anyone 12 or older, but pediatricians and many parents are anxiously awaiting protection for younger children to stem infections from the extra-contagious delta variant and help keep kids in school.

Tuesday's vote was the first step in a review process that will still require recommendations from the FDA itself and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read more here.

Here's Which Booster Shot Should You Get Based on Your First Dose, According to Experts

With millions of Americans now eligible to choose which coronavirus booster dose they receive, how can you make the best decision for you?

Chicago's top doctor, Dr. Allison Arwady, broke down Tuesday the best options based on your first dose.

Arwady said that while the first doses of the vaccine remain the most important, choosing your booster dose can also be an important decision.

Read more here.

‘Giving Vaccines, That's Our Jam': Pediatricians Weigh in on FDA Advisory Approval for Pfizer Shot

On Tuesday, an FDA advisory panel endorsed Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11.

"Today, our message is simple. Get your child and teen vaccinated for both COVID-19 and the flu as soon as possible," said Dr. Frank Belmonte, the chief medical officer at Advocate Children's Hospital.

Speaking at a press conference alongside his colleagues in the Chicagoland Children’s Health Alliance, Dr. Belmonte said his hospital and others have been prepared for weeks to administer vaccines to children.

Read more here.

Is the COVID Vaccine Dosage for Children the Same as for Teenagers?

Is the Pfizer vaccine that is being evaluated by federal health officials for younger children the exact same vaccine that teenagers and adults received?

According to Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, the answer is no.

While the vaccine for younger children has "the exact same ingredients" and will follow the same timeframe between doses, "it is only going to be a third the dose."

Read more here.

When Will the Mask Mandate End in Chicago? City's Top Doctor Weighs in

Chicago's top doctor said Tuesday that she hopes Chicago's mask mandate will end "soon" and provided a metric for when the city could remove the requirement.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a Facebook Live event that, per U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, the city would need to be below 200 cases per day to remove the mask mandate.

"Our numbers are going down," Arwady said. "When we get below 200 per day with good testing, per the CDC, moving out of that 'substantial transmission' risk, that's what [the mask mandate] would be coming off."

Read more here.

What to Know With COVID Vaccines for Kids Under 12 Now One Step Closer

Children as young as 5 could soon be eligible for coronavirus vaccines as a panel of advisers for the Food and Drug Administration gave Pfizer's child-size COVID vaccine its endorsement Tuesday.

Full-strength Pfizer shots already are recommended for anyone 12 or older, but pediatricians and many parents are anxiously awaiting protection for younger children to stem infections from the extra-contagious delta variant and help keep kids in school.

Tuesday's vote was the first step in a review process that will still require recommendations from the FDA itself and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So what can parents expect and when? Here's what we know so far.

More States Fall Off Chicago's Travel Advisory This Week

Four additional locations were removed from Chicago's travel advisory this week, dropping the list of places on the city's warning list to 41 states and two territories.

Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland and Mississippi have all dropped below the city's threshold for being under an "orange" category on the travel advisory, the city's health department announced Tuesday.

This marks the latest round of removals after Florida, Hawaii and the District of Columbia dropped off the advisory last week.

As many as eight additional states or territories - Alabama, New Jersey, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and the Virgin Islands - could come off the advisory next week, the health department said.

Read more here.

Here Are the Most Common Side Effects of COVID Booster Shots

People have reported side effects like chills, fever and nausea after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, but do you need to worry about developing such symptoms after getting a booster shot?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of the booster appear to largely mirror how people felt after their second dose.

The side effects were mostly considered mild or moderate, and arm pain, fatigue and headache were the most commonly reported symptoms after the third shot.

Read more here.

Moderna and J&J COVID Booster Shots Now Available. Here's Who's Eligible

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed additional doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccines, but who exactly does the updated guidance cover?

Certain people who received Pfizer vaccinations months ago already were eligible for a booster and on Thursday, the CDC said specific Moderna and Johnson & Johnson recipients qualify, too.

And in a bigger change, the agency is allowing the flexibility of “mixing and matching" that extra dose regardless of which type people received first.

Read more here.

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.

Here are the deadlines.

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.