Illinois officials prepare to roll out kids' COVID vaccine after federal approval
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Illinois public health officials reported 1,565 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 8 related deaths Monday.
There have been 1,686,048 total COVID cases, including 25,648 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.
The seven-day statewide test positivity rate from Oct. 18-24 is 2.1%.
Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 71,403 specimens for a total of 34,806,411 since the pandemic began.
As of Sunday night, 1,198 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 348 patients were in the ICU and 141 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
A total of 15,311,086 vaccine doses have been administered in Illinois as of Monday, and 56.6% of the state's population is fully vaccinated. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 33,711.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday vaccines for kids will be shipped to pharmacies and doctors' offices in Illinois after the FDA approves them. He encouraged parents to call their kids' pediatricians to ensure their offices are set receive doses.
The governor announced 700 pediatrician offices are already enrolled with IDPH to give COVID vaccines to children aged 5 to 11 when they become available. The state is also working with schools and park districts that may consider doing vaccination clinics for this younger age group.
Bill Fay is among the parents looking forward to getting their young children vaccinated as soon as possible.
"They've had a number of cases here and there and had friends quarantined and miss school for a couple weeks. So anything we can do to minimize that," he said.
"There are so many anxious parents like me who cannot wait to get vaccines in their kids' arms. You're going to see a big rush immediately," said Dr. Nadia Qureshi, Loyola Medical Center.
Quereshi is one of them, with three daughters aged 5-11. She said a quarter of all new COVID-19 cases are in kids.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of Illinois counties are in the "high transmission" level, even though total case numbers have been trending down.
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.
More than 70 million Americans are now eligible for booster shots following the CDC's latest guideline allowing boosters for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The federal agency also green lighted mixing shots, which means more questions from confused customers for pharmacists.
"We want the questions because when we get the questions we can engage in conversations to enlighten people about the pros of the vaccines," said Dr. Steven Fadowole, a Walgreens pharmacist.
While the talk is all about boosters, pharmacists and doctors say to end the pandemic, the focus must remain on getting people their first doses.
"Vaccinating the unvaccinated is by far the most important thing we can be doing from a public health standpoint," said Dr. Will Parker, UC Medicine.
Pharmacists say that while they answer questions about the latest booster guidance, their main goal is to get more people their first doses.
Between boosters, first shots and flu shots, pharmacists are going to get even busier when the vaccine is approved for 5-11 year olds, which is expected in early November.