Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker will soon be getting his booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Plus, what can parents expected ahead of the potential authorization of vaccinations for children between the ages of 5 and 11?
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:
Pritzker Reveals What He's Watching for to Determine if Mask Mandate Can Be Lifted
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said there are a mix of things he's looking at to determine the status of the state's mask mandate, but two metrics in particular stand out.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday after receiving his COVID-19 booster shot, Pritzker said the masking decision is being evaluated "really every day" by himself and doctors at the Illinois Department of Public Health.
"We look at the numbers, I talk to the doctors at IDPH, especially [IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike], and what we're trying to evaluate is: are the hospitalization numbers, for example, increasing, decreasing, staying the same?" Pritzker said. "We want them to decrease. They're not currently, just to be clear."
But hospitalizations aren't the only metric being used by state officials.
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.
3 States Removed, Others Added Back On as Chicago's Travel Advisory Updated
Three additional locations were removed from Chicago’s travel advisory this week, while two others returned, leaving the list of places on the city’s warning list at 41 states and one territory.
South Carolina, Texas and the Virgin Islands moved out of the city's "orange category" on the advisory, while California and Mississippi both reached the threshold to be added back once again.
That means the only states and territories not on the travel advisory are Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, and the Virgin Islands.
Read more here.
Gov. Pritzker Gets COVID Booster Shot
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker received his COVID-19 booster shot Tuesday.
The governor was given his extra dose at 11 a.m. from the Mile Square Health Center in Chicago.
What Parents Can Expect as CDC Panel Debates COVID Vaccines for Kids Under 12
Coronavirus vaccinations for kids under 12 could be just hours away as the shots face the final steps in the authorization process Tuesday.
A panel of experts for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are expected to debate whether or not to endorse the kid-size shots Tuesday.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to begin its meeting at 9 a.m., with vaccines for children as young as 5 expected to be the first topic discussed.
If the panel endorses, the CDC is expected to authorize them for public distribution immediately thereafter.
Read more here.
Judge Freezes Deadline for Chicago Cops to Get Vaccinated
A judge on Monday suspended a Dec. 31 deadline for Chicago police officers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 but didn't interfere with a requirement that they be regularly tested.
Disputes over vaccinations should be submitted to an arbitrator as a labor grievance, Cook County Judge Raymond Mitchell said.
“The effect of this order is to send these parties back to the bargaining table and to promote labor peace by allowing them to pursue" remedies under Illinois law, Mitchell said.
Officers who haven't been vaccinated still must be tested twice a week under city policy. Officers also can lose work and pay if they don't disclose their vaccine status.
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.
How to Schedule Your COVID Booster Shot at CVS and Walgreens
Walgreens and CVS began offering COVID vaccine booster shots to more eligible people across the country last week, but both chains are encouraging appointments for those planning to get their shots.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed extra doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccines on Oct. 21.
Walgreens said both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots are now available in stores nationwide, though availability will vary by location.
Meanwhile, CVS Health announced that select pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations began offering the Moderna COVID-19 booster shot to eligible populations Friday, in addition to the previously authorized Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster.
Read more here.
How Accurate Are At-Home COVID Tests? Here's What Experts Say
With businesses, events and places of work now requiring negative COVID tests in many cases, demand for testing has increased in recent months, but for those using at-home testing methods, how accurate are they?
There are a number of at-home options now available, the most recent of which received authorization from the Food and Drug Administration this week. But concerns sparked earlier this month after some tests were recalled due to false-positive results.
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.
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