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Coronavirus Vaccine Demand Falling Sharply In Chicago — But There Could Be Spike As Some Kids Become Eligible

City-run sites will start vaccinating kids 12 and older using the Pfizer vaccine on Thursday.

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are administered by Jewel-Osco pharmacists to union workers at the IUOE Local 399 union hall ahead of Vice President Kamala Harris's visit to discuss vaccine rollouts and union work in Chicago on April 6, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Coronavirus vaccine demand is falling sharply in Chicago — but officials think there will be an uptick in shots administered now that kids 12 and older can get vaccinated.

Dr. Alison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said Chicago has seen a significant fall in the number of people getting vaccinated in recent weeks.

But the Pfizer vaccine was given emergency use authorization for children 12 and older Monday afternoon, and city-run sites will start administering shots to people in that age group Thursday. That’s expected to lead to a spike in vaccinations.

The majority of Chicagoans and Illinoisans are not fully vaccinated, though, and officials are looking at ways to make it easier to get the shots and ease people’s concerns.

The state is helping community groups host vaccine events. Health departments are bringing vaccinations to workplaces, including Downtown office buildings. The city has said it’ll bring vaccine vans to festivals and other events.

“We are focused on bringing vaccine to people instead of people needing” to go somewhere to get vaccinated, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said at a Monday morning news conference.

People getting vaccinated is still the best bet for ending the pandemic, reopening businesses and having the world return to normal, officials have said. More people getting vaccinated also means there are fewer chances for variants of COVID-19 to develop and spread, which would endanger people and pose a threat to reopening efforts.

“The quickest way for life to return to normal is for more people to get vaccinated,” Ezike said.

Everyone 16 and older is now eligible for vaccinations in Illinois. But the vast majority of Illinoisans are not fully vaccinated: Only about 4.5 million people — or 34.42 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — have gotten all their COVID-19 vaccination shots.

At the same time, vaccine demand has slowed in Illinois in recent weeks; as a result, the state is requesting fewer doses from the federal government, Gov. JB Pritzker said.

And people continue to get sick and die from COVID-19. Officials have urged people to take precautions — like wearing a mask, staying socially distant and getting vaccinated — to ensure there’s not another surge and people can stay safe.

There’s still a high risk for spreading COVID-19 among unvaccinated people. Vaccines have been shown to be highly effective at preventing serious illness and death.

RELATED: Here’s How You Can Get Vaccinated Against Coronavirus In Chicago

Another 26 Illinoisans were reported dead from coronavirus during the past day.

Credit: Illinois Department of Public Health
Daily and average vaccinations in Illinois.

The most recent victims included 18 people from Cook County, including two people in their 30s and a woman in her 40s.

At least 22,261 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,356 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

The state reported 1,562 cases over the past day. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,357,953.

RELATED: A Year Of Loss: COVID-19 Has Killed More Than 4,500 Chicagoans. For These Families, Life Will Never Be The Same

Across Illinois, 83,887 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average. Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 10,037,624 vaccine doses of the 12,548,235 provided to them.

City data shows 2,162,087 doses of vaccine have been administered to Chicagoans in the city, and 2,311,614 doses have been administered in the city overall. About 47.1 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot, while 35.4 percent have completed their vaccination. Among Chicagoans 65 and older, about 67.9 percent have gotten at least one dose, while 57.9 percent have finished their vaccination.

Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate held at 2.8 percent Tuesday with 46,334 tests reported. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests.

Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, fell slightly to 3.3 percent Tuesday. It was at 3.4 percent Monday.

As of Monday night, 1,930 people were hospitalized with coronavirus in Illinois, including 489 people in the ICU and 261 people using ventilators.

In Chicago, eight deaths and 249 confirmed cases were reported since Monday. There have been at least 5,243 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago and 279,940 confirmed cases, according to state data.

The city is seeing an average of six deaths per day, down from seven per day the week prior.

An average of 435 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 15 percent decrease from the previous week. At the same time, testing has fallen 5 percent since a week ago.

The city’s seven-day positivity rate is at 4.1 percent, down from 4.5 percent the week before.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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