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One Of Chicago’s First 9-Year-Olds To Get Vaccinated Has A Message: More People Should Get Their Shots

Fourth-grader Kate Johns said she'll show off her COVID-19 vaccine mark all day, adding, "The pinch was not as bad as the flu shot."

Fourth-grader Kate Johns gets a COVID-19 vaccine Nov. 3 at Esperanza Health Centers.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — One of the first kids in Chicago to get a COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday said the shot wasn’t bad.

Fourth-grader Kate Johns was the first kid in the 5-11 age group to get vaccinated Wednesday morning at Esperanza Health Centers, 6057 S. Western Ave. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave emergency use approval to the Pfizer vaccine for kids 5 and older just the night before.

“It’s not that bad,” Kate, 9, of Roscoe Village, said after getting her first shot. “Because I thought it would actually be like the flu shot. … The flu shot, it has a needle that’s more sharp, that makes a bigger pinch. … The pinch was not as bad as the flu shot.”

RELATED: Kids 5 And Older Can Now Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19. Here’s How To Get The Shots In Chicago

Kate said she’ll show off the mark from the shot all day. She’s looked at a screen, waiting 19 months for a vaccine, she said.

“I’m very excited ’cause I had to get pulled out [of school] to get this,” she said.

Kate’s mother, Liz Johns, said it’s been a long 19 months since the pandemic started. Liz Johns’ mom had cancer, an underlying condition that puts her at greater risk from COVID-19, so the family was careful about protecting her by staying safe themselves, Johns said. And because kids couldn’t get vaccinated before, Kate has had to wear masks when playing with her friends indoors, Johns said.

Johns was eager to get her daughter vaccinated so she can regain some normalcy.

“I feel very blessed that we can get this shot,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s just about being safe.

“I think it would be nice for her to go and see friends and stuff. We’ve been very safe with those types of things. … Really, at the end of the day, I think trying to get them back to being kids a bit more is very, very important.”

About 100,000 doses for kids are on their way to Chicago, with more coming soon, officials have said.

There are an estimated 210,448 kids ages 5-11 in Chicago, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said last week. She’s urged parents to contact their pediatrician’s office to get their kids vaccinated as soon as possible so they can be protected against COVID-19.

Like adults, kids will get two doses of the vaccine three weeks apart. But the doses for kids 5-11 are smaller than those adults get, and they’re administered with smaller needles.

Kids can get vaccinated against COVID-19 for free. They do not need to be covered by insurance, have an ID or have a doctor’s order. They can get their shots at the same time they get other vaccinations.

The city is offering the vaccine to families in a variety of ways, distributing doses to doctor’s offices, clinics and more.

“We need more people” to get vaccinated, Kate said. Her mother added, “We need more folks to get the vaccine.”


• In Illinois, about 7.3 million people — or 57.34 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.

• Across the state, 58,221 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 15,821,504 vaccine doses of the 18,954,505 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.6 million Chicagoans — or 60 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 65 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot.

Everyone 5 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 Tuesday.

• At least 25,898 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,874 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 1,746 cases since Tuesday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,705,777.

• Since Tuesday, 103,223 tests were reported statewide. In all, 35,785,125 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day case positivity rate was at 2 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 2 percent Tuesday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 2.3 percent. It was at 2.3 percent Tuesday.

• As of Tuesday night, 282 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 145 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, two deaths were reported since Tuesday. There have been at least 5,915 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of more than three deaths per day, down 24 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago has had 131 confirmed cases reported since Tuesday. It’s had a total of 328,726 confirmed cases. An average of 322 confirmed cases are being reported per day, up 12 percent from the week prior.

• Testing in Chicago is down 5 percent since a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 1.8 percent, up from 1.6 percent the week prior.

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