US opens COVID boosters to all adults, urges them for 50+
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois public health officials reported 5,720 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 37 related deaths Friday.
There have been 1,763,866 total COVID cases, including 26,227 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.
The seven-day statewide test positivity rate from Nov. 12-Nov. 18 is 3.8%.
Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 176,441 new specimens for a total of 37,895,788 since the pandemic began.
As of Thursday night, 1,759 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 350 patients were in the ICU and 152 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
A total of 16,691,850 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois as of Friday, and 57.43% of the state's population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 61,695.
Both the FDA and CDC have authorized expanding eligibility for COVID booster shots to all adults Friday.
The move comes as the upcoming holidays, winter, increased case numbers in the Midwest and surges abroad are worrying public health officials and infectious disease doctors.
Many agree with the FDA and CDC that now is the time to allow any adult over 18 to get Pfizer and Moderna boosters six months after their second dose.
"The message should be that the booster is there to really help and assist everyone how has been vaccinated while being around a large proportion of people who are unvaccinated," said Dr. Michael Angarone, an infectious disease doctor at Northwestern Medicine.
Because first doses continue to work very well against the virus for healthy people, booster shots for all adults have been controversial. The FDA took its time making a decision.
"I think it was a matter of waiting for the data and trying to keep the emphasis on those who remain unvaccinated," said Dr. Gregory Huhn, vaccination coordinator for Cook County Health.
Huhn said the data shows a third shot boosts waning immunity back up to the 90%-95% range, and the FDA/CDC decision on boosters for adults 18+ makes it easier for the general public, who may have been confused on how who qualified.
"You don't have to think what age group am I in, I'm working in a job with increased exposure, so I have one of the conditions," Angarone said.
But, with just under 60% of Americans fully vaccinated, doctors and public health officials say the emphasis must continue to be on getting more people their first shots.