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Booster Shots Coming In September As US Struggles With Another COVID Surge

The booster rollout will begin Sept. 20 for people who were vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna doses.

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at the mass vaccination site in the Jones Convocation Center on the campus of Chicago State University on April 7, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Vaccinated Americans will soon be able to get booster shots against coronavirus.

Federal officials announced Wednesday morning they recommend people who got Pfizer or Moderna doses get a third booster shot about eight months after their initial vaccination. The booster rollout will begin Sept. 20.

People who got the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also likely need a booster shot, but that’s still being decided upon, officials said.

The vaccines still largely protect people from severe illness and death from COVID-19; they just lose some of their effectiveness over time, and a booster can ensure people are protected, officials said.

But the move is controversial: Some experts have said boosters should be saved for people most at risk — like people whose immune systems are severely compromised — while the bulk of doses go to countries where far fewer people are vaccinated.

The World Health Organization has said booster programs in wealthier countries could keep doses out of the hands of lower-income countries, which are struggling to get doses to vaccinate people. That could, in turn, fuel the emerge of more dangerous variants of COVID-19, experts have said.

The announcement comes as the highly contagious Delta variant has fueled another wave of coronavirus cases. Chicago has seen its cases surge, and hospitalizations and COVID-19 deaths have begun to rise.

The latest wave of coronavirus has had the deepest impact on unvaccinated people. About 97 percent of Chicagoans who have been hospitalized with or died from COVID-19 since January were not vaccinated, local officials have said.

But as cases have risen, officials have brought the city’s indoor mask mandate. It goes into effect Friday.

Vaccinations:

• In Illinois, about 6.6 million people of all ages — or 52.14 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — have gotten all their COVID-19 vaccine shots, according to state data.

• Across the state, 40,286 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 13,692,500 vaccine doses of the 15,505,075 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.46 million Chicagoans — or 54.3 percent of all residents — have gotten fully vaccinated. About 59.7 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:

• Forty-five Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19 since Tuesday.

• At least 23,685 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,497 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 3,833 cases since Tuesday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,474,285.

• Since Tuesday, 72,545 tests were reported statewide. In all, 27,906,468 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate was at 5.3 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 5.4 percent Tuesday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 6.1 percent. It was at 6.2 percent Tuesday.

• As of Tuesday night, 437 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 215 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, 13 deaths were reported since Tuesday. There have been at least 5,571 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of more than two deaths per day, a 35 percent decrease from the week prior.

• Chicago has had 410 confirmed cases reported since Tuesday. It’s had a total of 297,088 confirmed cases. An average of 444 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 24 percent increase from the week prior.

• At the same time, testing has increased 2 percent since a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 4.5 percent, up from 3.8 percent the week prior.

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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