IDPH urges eligible people to get new COVID-19 booster shots

This August 2022 photo provided by Pfizer shows vials of the company's updated COVID-19 vaccine...
This August 2022 photo provided by Pfizer shows vials of the company's updated COVID-19 vaccine during production in Kalamazoo, Mich. U.S. regulators have authorized updated COVID-19 boosters, the first to directly target today's most common omicron strain. The move on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2022, by the Food and Drug Administration tweaks the recipe of shots made by Pfizer and rival Moderna that already have saved millions of lives.(Pfizer via AP)
Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 2:00 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - The Illinois Department of Public Health is urging all eligible people to get up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines with the new bivalent booster shots authorized by the CDC. IDPH Director Sameer Vohra says the updated booster shots should be available in Illinois next week.

“I urge everyone in Illinois who is eligible to take advantage of the opportunity to get fully protected before we enter the fall season,” Dr. Vohra said. “These new bivalent vaccines are designed to offer extra protection against the omicron variants which are now the dominant strain of the virus. Getting up to date now is especially important for those who are at risk of serious outcomes as the updated vaccines offer protection from hospitalization and even death.”

IDPH expects to receive 580,000 doses of the new booster shots within a week. Chicago will receive a shipment of 150,000 doses. People can get vaccines at pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. You can search availability of the boosters by clicking here.

FDA officials granted emergency use authorization for two new booster vaccines that include an mRNA component of the original strain. IDPH explained this decision will provide an immune response that is broadly protective against COVID-19. A separate mRNA component in common between the omicron variant BA.4 and BA.5 lineages will also provide better protection against illness caused by the omicron variant.

The Moderna bivalent vaccine single dose booster is authorized for anyone 18 and older. The Pfizer bivalent vaccine is authorized for use as a single booster dose for people 12 and older.

The vaccine announcement comes as Illinois reported 26,127 new confirmed and probable cases since last Friday. The state also reported another 70 deaths during that time. 34,747 Illinoisans have died from COVID-related illness since the pandemic started.

The CDC also labeled 30 Illinois counties at the high community level for COVID-19 Friday. There are 60 counties now rated at the medium community level.

The 30 counties in orange are now listed at high community level for COVID-19. There are also...
The 30 counties in orange are now listed at high community level for COVID-19. There are also 60 counties in yellow rated at the medium community level.(Illinois Department of Public Health)

The counties listed at the high community level are Adams, Champaign, Clark, Coles, Crawford, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Franklin, Fulton, Grundy, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Lawrence, Lee, Macon, Massac, Perry, Pike, Shelby, Stephenson, Vermilion, Wabash, Wayne, Whiteside, Will, Williamson, and Winnebago.

The CDC recommends people in areas rated at the high community level should wear well-fitted masks indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status. The organization notes that the recommendation includes masking in K-12 schools and other indoor community settings. People who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease should wear a mask or respirator for greater protection and consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public. The CDC said those people should also have a plan for at-home testing and talk with a healthcare provider if they test positive to learn about oral antivirals and monoclonal antibodies.

Anyone in close contact with someone at high risk for severe disease is advised to consider self-testing to detect COVID-19 infection before contact. The CDC also said those people should wear a mask whenever they are inside with someone at higher risk for disease.

Elderly or immunocompromised people living in areas labeled at medium-level risk for COVID-19 should wear masks in indoor places as well. The CDC said those individuals should be up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines and get a second booster shot if eligible.

IDPH reported 4,252 new confirmed and probable cases and 13 deaths on Friday. The case rate 7-day average is now 205 per 100,000 people.

1,263 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19 in Illinois. 154 people are in the ICU and 46 of those patients are on ventilators.

4,586 vaccines were given over the last 24 hours. 85.1% of Illinoisans 12 and older have received at least one shot. 77.2% of those people are fully vaccinated. 37,778 vaccines were administered since last Friday. The 7-day rolling average for shots given is 5,397.

The state has also continued to work with pharmacies and healthcare providers to increase the inventory of various FDA-authorized treatments. IDPH reports there are over 1,200 treatment locations across the state, including all major retail pharmacies.

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