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Get Your COVID-19 Boosters Soon If You’re Eligible, Biden Urges

Pfizer boosters are available for people 65 and older, people with underlying medical conditions and certain frontline workers.

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 — President Joe Biden is urging people eligible for coronavirus booster shoots from Pfizer to get them as soon as they can.

That includes people 65 and older, people with underlying medical conditions and certain frontline workers. A third shot is currently only available to people who got Pfizer doses and who have had at least six months pass since their second shot.

Booster shots for people who got Moderna and Johnson & Johnson doses have not yet been approved, though Moderna’s boosters are expected to be approved for eligible groups in coming weeks.

“My message today is this: If you’ve got the Pfizer vaccine, you got the Pfizer vaccine in January, February, March of this year, and you’re over 65 years of age, go get the booster,” Biden said, according to The New York Times. “Or, if you’re in a have a medical condition like diabetes, or you’re a frontline worker like a health care worker or a teacher, you can get a free booster.”

Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said on Tuesday more people could become eligible for booster shots as more data becomes available. Breakthrough cases remain rare, she’s said, and the city’s biggest priority is still vaccinating unvaccinated folks to drop the risk of COVID-19 spread for everyone.

Biden said people who aren’t currently eligible should “wait your turn.”

The United States’ rush to administer booster shots has proven divisive. 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.

Others have said officials’ main priority should be on getting initial shots into the arms of unvaccinated people.

Earlier this week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she’d get a booster shot once she is eligible for one.

Vaccinations:

• In Illinois, about 6.97 million people — or 54.84 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — have gotten all their COVID-19 vaccine shots, according to state data.

• Across the state, 19,371 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 14,419,886 vaccine doses of the 17,181,675 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.54 million Chicagoans — or 57.4 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 62.6 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot.

Everyone 12 and older is eligible to get vaccinated in Chicago.

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 Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19 since Thursday.

• At least 24,783 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,657 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 3,304 cases since Thursday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,612,129.

• Since Thursday, 150,245 tests were reported statewide. In all, 31,192,769 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate was at 2.7 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 3 percent Thursday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 3.7 percent. It was at 3.8 percent Thursday.

• As of Thursday night, 474 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 252 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, nine deaths were reported since Thursday. There have been at least 5,750 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of four deaths per day, down 3 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago has 459 had confirmed cases reported since Thursday. It’s had a total of 315,314 confirmed cases. An average of 422 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 4 percent decrease from the week prior.

• Testing in Chicago has increased 29 percent since a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 2.9 percent, down from 3.3 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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