Chicago area doctors gearing up to vaccinate 5 to 11-year-olds
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois Department of Public Health officials reported 3,371 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 36 related deaths Thursday.
There have been 1,647,364 total COVID cases, including 25,189 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.
The seven-day statewide test positivity rate from Sept. 30-Oct. 6 is at 2.6 percent.
Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 163,742 specimens for a total of 32,793,074 since the pandemic began.
As of Wednesday night, 1,676 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 409 patients were in the ICU and 216 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
A total of 14,789,589 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of Wednesday. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 33,510.
As of Thursday, over 7 million people in Illinois are fully vaccinated. That's 55.7 percent of the state's population.
The CDC director has added frontline workers to the list of those eligible for booster shots, which also includes people 65 and older, nursing home residents and those 50 and above with chronic health care problems should get boosters 6 months after their first dose. The CDC said younger people with underlying health issues can decide for themselves.
With the CDC's recommendation, millions of Americans will now eligible for the booster shot, but the head of Pfizer said he believes there is enough supply to handle those people and those still awaiting their initial vaccination.
Doctors at Northwestern Children's Practice are gearing up to provide the COVID vaccine to 5 to 11-year-olds as soon as it becomes available.
"We are definitely committed to having the best access as we can and are very excited about the prospect this will happen soon," said Dr. Rebecca Unger, with Northwestern Children's Practice.
Pfizer submitted its data to the FDA Thursday, and if approved for emergency use, vaccines for the younger age group maybe available sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving. The company said the dose will be lower than it is for populations 12 and above.
"Children typically respond better to vaccines, they can make up a more robust response, that's why we like to vaccinate children because they don't use as much," said Dr. Taylor Heald-Sargent, an infectious disease specialist at Lurie Children's Hospital.
Heald-Sargent said immune systems change with age, which is why it's important to give age-appropriate vaccines.
Lurie Children's Hospital and pediatric offices must wait for guidance on whether they will administer a diluted version of what they have or new specialized pediatric vials. Either way, Northwestern Children's Practice is ready.
"The good news is, we have done this before for children 12 and up," Unger said. "What we did, we were all hands on deck."
As it did before, the Chicago pediatric practice will likely have weekend walk-in clinics for 5 to 11-year-olds.
In the meantime, many parents can't wait for the vaccine. Dawn Birkland's 10-year-old daughter, Adelaide, is immunocompromised to a due heart transplant when she was an infant.
"We are excited for it, she is excited for it," Birkland said. "She looks forward to a flu shot every year, probably because she gets ice cream, but she understands it helps her and others."
As for children under 5 years old, Pfizer said it will have safety data this fall with the hope of having the vaccine available for the youngest children early next year.