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Vaccine Boosters Authorized For People With Weakened Immune Systems

The boosters are currently approved for Pfizer and Moderna only, but the agencies are studying boosters for Johnson & Johnson vaccines, Reuters reports.

Chicago Department of Public Health
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CHICAGO — As the Delta variant continues to hit primarily unvaccinated Americans, the Food and Drug Administration is now allowing immunocompromised people to get third doses — or booster shots — of Pfizer and Moderna’s coronavirus vaccines.

The extra dose would be allowed for organ transplant recipients or “those who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise,” according to the FDA announcement. The New York Times reports about 3 percent of Americans have weakened immune systems and could benefit from the extra dose.

“The country has entered yet another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the FDA is especially cognizant that immunocompromised people are particularly at risk for severe disease,” acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a statement. “As we’ve previously stated, other individuals who are fully vaccinated are adequately protected and do not need an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine at this time.”

Woodcock said research into booster shots for the general public is underway.

During a Friday advisory panel meeting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC official Dr. Amanda Cohn said patients will not have to prove they have a weakened immune system in order to get the boosters, Reuters reports. Immunocompromised people who received Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at least 28 days ago are eligible for the third shot.

“We think that at least this is a solution for the very large majority of immunocompromised individuals, and we believe that we’ll probably have a solution for the remainder in the not-too-distant future,” FDA official Peter Marks told a CDC panel, according to Reuters.

The boosters are currently approved for Pfizer and Moderna only, but the agencies are studying boosters for Johnson & Johnson vaccines, Reuters reports.

Vaccinations:

• In Illinois, about 6.55 million people of all ages — or 51.45 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — have gotten all their COVID-19 vaccine shots, according to state data.

• Across the state, 30,737 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 13,510,873 vaccine doses of the 15,373,825 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.44 million Chicagoans — or 53.8 percent of all residents — have gotten fully vaccinated. About 59.1 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot.

COVID-19 vaccinations are free and do not require insurance. Anyone can call the city’s coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 to get more information on how and where to get vaccinated in their community.

The numbers:

• Nineteen Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19 since Thursday.

• At least 23,594 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,498 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 3,479 cases since Thursday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,457,687.

• Since Thursday, 73,097 tests were reported statewide. In all, 27,609,781 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate was at 5.1 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 5 percent Thursday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 5.9 percent. It was at 5.8 percent Thursday.

• As of Thursday night, 345 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 162 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, eight deaths were reported since Thursday. There have been at least 5,547 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of more than two deaths per day, unchanged from the week prior.

• Chicago has had 408 confirmed cases reported since Thursday. It’s had a total of 294,677 confirmed cases. An average of 369 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 36 percent increase from the week prior.

• At the same time, testing has increased 24 percent since a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 3.9 percent, up from 3.5 percent the week prior.

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