Vaccinations begin across the Chicago area beginning Friday and heading into the weekend, but what should parents know if they're looking to get their child vaccinated?
Plus, how the new federal vaccine mandate could affect workers in Chicago.
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
When Could COVID Vaccines for Kids Under 5 Begin?
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With coronavirus vaccinations for kids as young 5 now underway across much of the Chicago area, many parents are looking ahead to even younger children.
So when could vaccinations for children under the age of 5 be authorized?
Chicago's top doctor said that while the focus remains on children ages 5 to 11 at the moment, she anticipates additional kids could become eligible as soon as early next year.
Read more here.
Coronavirus in Illinois: 17,462 New COVID Cases, 183 Deaths, 368K Vaccinations in the Past Week
Illinois health officials on Friday reported 17,462 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, along with 183 additional deaths and over 368,000 new vaccine doses administered.
The number marks a rise in cases from the previous week, which saw just over 14,000 new COVID cases, though the statewide positivity rate dropped.
In all, 1,712,986 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state since the pandemic began, according to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The additional deaths reported this week bring the state to 25,948 confirmed COVID fatalities.
More Illinois COVID stats here.
Pfizer Says COVID-19 Pill Cut Hospital, Death Risk by 90%
Pfizer Inc. said Friday that its experimental antiviral pill for COVID-19 cut rates of hospitalization and death by nearly 90% in high-risk adults, as the drugmaker joined the race for an easy-to-use medication to treat the coronavirus.
Currently most COVID-19 treatments require an IV or injection. Competitor Merck’s COVID-19 pill is already under review at the Food and Drug Administration after showing strong initial results, and on Thursday the United Kingdom became the first country to OK it.
Pfizer said it will ask the FDA and international regulators to authorize its pill as soon as possible, after independent experts recommended halting the company’s study based on the strength of its results. Once Pfizer applies, the FDA could make a decision within weeks or months.
LIVE: Chicago's Mayor, Top Doc to Give COVID-19 Vaccine Update Friday
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the city's top doctor are expected to give an update on vaccination efforts Friday as shots begin for children under 12.
The mayor, Dr. Allison Arwady and CPS CEO Pedro Martinez will join other leaders in delivering remarks on COVID-19 efforts across the city at 9:30 a.m. at Lurie Children's Hospital.
Watch it live in the player above.
Parents, Doctors Preparing for Increased Efforts to Deliver COVID Vaccine Doses to Kids
Parents have been scheduling appointments for their kids through their pediatrician’s office or through their local pharmacy, but starting Friday, parents can bring their kids ages 5 to 11 to any Cook County Health site to get the COVID shot.
“All our clinics are ready to go throughout the city and county, as well as Stroger Hospital and Provident Hospital,” said Dr. Gregory Huhn.
Thousands of Pfizer vaccine doses are ready for young kids in Cook County after the CDC issued an emergency use authorization for shots for children between the ages of 5 and 11.
Read more here.
Chicago Public Schools Cancel Classes Nov. 12 So Students, Parents Can Get COVID Vaccines
Chicago Public Schools will close its schools next Friday to mark “Vaccination Awareness Day,” giving students and parents the opportunity to receive coronavirus vaccinations.
The move was made after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11.
“To ensure all eligible students have the opportunity to receive the vaccine as quickly as possible, CPS schools will be closed on Friday, Nov. 12, for Vaccination Awareness Day,” CPS said in a statement.
Faculty and staff will be given paid days off, according to officials.
Read more here.
Cook County Health Begins Offering COVID-19 Vaccine to Patients Ages 5-11 on Friday
Cook County Health announced it will begin offering the COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 5 to 11 who are patients beginning Friday, Nov. 5.
Patients can walk in to any Cook County Health site or make an appointment by calling 833-308-1988 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Online appointments for patients and community members will begin early next week at vaccine.cookcountyil.gov. A parent of legal guardian must be present with children under 18.
6-Year-Old COVID Survivor Gets Newly Approved Vaccine, as Family Urges Others to Get Shots
It’s been a long road to recovery for a 6-year-old Chicago girl who was one of the first children in the country to test positive for COVID-19, but Thursday marked a monumental step in her journey, getting her first dose of the recently-approved Pfizer vaccine.
Amelia Ateca was diagnosed with COVID-19 in May 2020. Soon after, she developed myocarditis – inflammation of the heart – and was put on a ventilator for seven days.
“All I know is that it was really hard for me,” said Ateca.
On Thursday, Ateca’s mother, Alicia Lopez-Ateca, invited Chicago area media to Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge to film her daughter’s first vaccine dose, given after the CDC gave its emergency use authorization for doses for kids between the ages of 5 and 11.
Her full story here.
This is What the Federal Vaccine Mandate Means for Chicago, City's Top Doctor Says
The new federal vaccine mandate requiring tens of millions of workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or submit to weekly testing aligns with Chicago's vaccination timeline, the city's top doctor said Thursday.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's emergency temporary standard mandates that all Americans who work at companies with 100 or more employees be vaccinated against COVID prior to Jan. 4, 2022, or get tested for the virus weekly.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the mandate matches the city's vaccination plan, though many businesses have already made decisions around whether or not to require employee to receive vaccines.
Read more here.
Chicago's Top Doctor Discusses Possible Impacts of COVID-19 on Brain Function
Amid concerns that cases of COVID-19 could potentially cause long-term issues, including a loss of taste and smell, lowered energy and other neurological symptoms, Chicago’s top doctor says that efforts are underway to learn more about those ailments, and about ways to potentially treat them.
Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, pointed out Thursday that the loss of taste and smell, two commonly-known symptoms of COVID-19, are in fact neurological symptoms, and are similar to other ailments, such as “brain-fog,” confusion, dizziness and muscle weakness, that have been reported in seriously ill COVID patients.
“People sometimes take a long time to recover their sense of taste or smell, or it can take a long time even after they’ve recovered from the acute phase of COVID to feel like they’ve gotten their energy back,” she said. “Sometimes for weeks and even months, people are reporting these long-standing chronic health issues.”
According to Harvard University, COVID-19 has been observed to cause a wide variety of neurological symptoms, including loss of smell and taste, muscle weakness, tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, dizziness, confusion, seizures and even strokes.
Read more here.
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.
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.