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Chicago Readying To Vaccinate Kids 5-11 Once COVID Shots Are Approved, Top Doc Says

The city's health department could reopen larger vaccination sites, and CPS can vaccinate kids at clinics, among other options.

Chicago Public Schools students headed back to full-time in-person learning for the first time in more than a year Monday.
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CHICAGO — The city is getting ready to vaccinate younger kids against COVID-19, Chicago’s top doctor said.

It appears likely that time is coming soon, as Pfizer has asked the federal government to review its data for vaccinating kids 5-11. But Chicago has been “planning for a long time” how to vaccinate younger kids, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a Wednesday news conference.

“We know there’s a lot of interest in it,” Arwady said. “We also see it as an opportunity to think about getting whole families vaccinated.”

Chicago Public Schools has 34 school-based clinics where kids might be able to get their shots, CEO Pedro Martinez said at the news conference. They’ll also work with partners “to shore up where we have gaps.”

But the school district is still working with the health department and others to craft a full plan, with more details coming in the next two weeks, Martinez said.

Chicago already has a “strong” network for vaccinating kids, as there are hundreds of pediatricians who regularly vaccinate kids against various illnesses, Arwady said. Officials have also worked to ensure pharmacy workers are trained to vaccinate kids, she said.

And the city might bring back larger vaccination sites at City Colleges to meet the demand for shots among kids 5-11, Arwady said.

“Every single day, we’re in conversations with CDC and partners, doing some specific planning to make sure there’s good distribution,” she said.

Arwady has previously said she expects Pfizer to be approved this fall for younger kids, though officials must first do a thorough review of the data to ensure they’re safe. Kids will likely get a lower dose than older people, she said.

“I can’t tell you for sure what day” the vaccines will get approved, Arwady said. “Always, we have to wait for the FDA and then the CDC to have that full guidance. And I want to make sure that we have all of the safety data to present to parents.”

Vaccinations:

• In Illinois, about 7.1 million people — or 56.07 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — have gotten all their COVID-19 vaccine shots, according to state data.

• Across the state, 27,559 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 14,964,603 vaccine doses of the 17,913,275 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.57 million Chicagoans — or 58.5 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 63.6 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:

• Fifty Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19 since Wednesday.

• At least 25,377 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,775 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 2,481 cases since Wednesday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,663,364.

• Since Wednesday, 127,488 tests were reported statewide. In all, 33,570,829 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day case positivity rate was at 2.1 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 2.1 percent Wednesday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 2.6 percent. It was at 2.6 percent Wednesday.

• As of Wednesday night, 357 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 183 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, four deaths were reported since Wednesday. There have been at least 5,836 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of more than three deaths per day, down 21 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago has 316 had confirmed cases reported since Wednesday. It’s had a total of 322,068 confirmed cases. An average of 324 confirmed cases are being reported per day, a 10 percent decrease from the week prior.

• Testing in Chicago is down 4 percent since a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 2 percent, down from 2.2 percent the week prior.

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