CHICAGO — City workers can get two hours paid time off Nov. 12 so they can take kids to get vaccinated, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday.
Officials are encouraging private workplaces to give parents time off on that day so they can take kids to get their shots, as well. And Chicago Public Schools has canceled classes on that day so kids can get vaccinated.
The moves come as officials are urging parents to get their kids vaccinated against COVID-19 now that Pfizer’s shots have been approved for kids 5 and older.
“The vaccine is safe. It is free,” Lightfoot said at a news conference. “And it is widely available and fundamentally is the best defense that we have against COVID-19. Whether you’re 5 years old or 85 years old … .
“We have an important opportunity to further protect the lives of our youngest residents from this virus and its variants.”
Parents don’t need to wait until Nov. 12 to get kids vaccinated, officials said; that’s just when the city will host a Vaccination Awareness Day.
Besides CPS being closed for the day, city workers will get two hours “early release” so they can get vaccinated or can help relatives get the shots, officials said.
Lightfoot and Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said they’ll also push private employers to give time off to workers that day so they can get vaccinated, get a booster shot or take a child to get vaccinated.
Pediatric doses will be available at more than 200 spots across the city for the awareness day, Arwady said.
“The whole city is going to be able to receive vaccine,” Arwady said. “Make it a family affair. Let’s get it done.”
All city workers are required to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 31.
And there are only about two weeks until Thanksgiving, which means this is a good time for people to get a booster shot so they’re as protected as possible for the holiday, Arwady said.
The shots are free and do not require insurance or an ID. Pediatric doses are already arriving in Chicago — and kids have been getting their shots.
But CPS’ cancellation has frustrated some parents who are now having to make child care arrangements. To help with that, libraries will be open with computer access and grab-n-go kits for kids, officials said. Parks will also have Drop and Play events and programs.
CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said the day off of classes is key to ensuring younger children get the shots so they’ll be protected against COVID-19. That will lead to fewer kids getting sick, getting exposed and needing to be quarantined and kept our of school, he said.
“It was a difficult decision for us to cancel classes on Friday the 12th,” Martinez said at a news conference. “I know that it’s creating challenges for our parents. … But it is so important, it is so important as we look at the rest of the school year to make this key investment now to make sure our kids can get vaccinated.”
• In Illinois, about 7.3 million people — or 57.44 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.
• Across the state, 52,670 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.
• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 15,911,477 vaccine doses of the 19,022,335 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.
• Twenty-two Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19 since Thursday.
• At least 25,948 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,884 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.
• The state reported 2,942 cases since Thursday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,712,986.
• Since Thursday, 174,084 tests were reported statewide. In all, 36,109,599 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 2.2 percent Thursday.
• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 2.5 percent. It was at 2.4 percent Thursday.
• As of Thursday night, 282 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 148 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.
• In Chicago, three deaths were reported since Thursday. There have been at least 5,920 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of more than two deaths per day, down 29 percent from a week ago.
• Chicago has had 426 confirmed cases reported since Thursday. It’s had a total of 329,814 confirmed cases. An average of 335 confirmed cases are being reported per day, up 14 percent from the week prior.
• Testing in Chicago is down 4 percent since a week ago.
• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 1.9 percent, up from 1.6 percent the week prior.
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