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Chicago Makes Push For Everyone To Get Vaccinated Before Holidays: ‘That Should Happen Whether You’re 5 Or 85’

The city's top doctor said she's worries about a post-holiday surge if people gather without taking precautions, like getting vaccinated and getting booster shots.

Fourth-grader Kate Johns gets a COVID-19 vaccine at Esperanza Health Centers, 6057 S. Western Ave., on Nov. 4, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Officials are making a push for as many Chicagoans as possible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before the holidays hit.

Friday was dubbed Vaccination Awareness Day in the city, with Chicago Public Schools canceled and city workers getting two hours off. Officials hoped people would use that time to get vaccinated, get a booster shot or take kids 5 and older to get vaccinated.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot got her booster shot during a news conference early in the day, the city held vaccination events and the shots were available at select schools as part of the day.

“For goodness sake, get the lifesaving vaccine,” Lightfoot said. “That should happen whether you’re 5 or 85 in the city of Chicago. It’s also a must if you intend on gathering with loved ones for the upcoming holidays.”

RELATED: Here’s Where Families Can Get Vaccinated — Or Get Child Care — During Friday’s COVID-19 Vaccination Awareness Day

Friday marks about two weeks out from Thanksgiving, and other major holidays — like Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa — are coming in the weeks ahead. People should get their vaccinations or booster shots, if eligible, before gathering for those events, officials urged.

“Be cautious, but make sure you are fully vaccinated and the people who are gathering around your table are, as well,” Lightfoot said.

Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said she’s worries about a post-holiday surge if people gather without taking precautions. Already, new cases — especially the most serious ones that lead to hospitalization and death — are “almost exclusively” being found in unvaccinated people, she said.

People who are as vaccinated as can be — which includes booster shots for eligible people and at least first doses for kids 5 and older — can gather, Arwady said.

But the holidays will be riskier for unvaccinated people.

“Where people are going to be gathering with people who are not fully vaccinated, especially older people, I do have some concerns about that,” Arwady said.

Unvaccinated people who plan to gather for the holidays should at least take a test to ensure they don’t have COVID-19, Arwady said. But, regardless, that will be a “higher-risk situation” for people.

Arwady is also advising unvaccinated people not travel for the holidays due to the increased risk in many states.

Here’s a holiday vaccination schedule:

  • Thanksgiving (Nov. 25): It’s too late to get a double-dose vaccine, but you can get the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Nov. 11 to be protected in time for the holiday.
  • Hanukkah (Nov. 28-Dec. 6): You can get the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Nov. 14 to be fully protected by the first day of Hanukkah.
  • Christmas (Dec. 25): If you want the two-shot Moderna vaccine, you must get your first shot by Nov. 13. If you want Pfizer, you must get the first shot by Nov. 20. You have until Dec. 11 if you want the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  • Kwanzaa (Dec. 26-Jan. 1): People celebrating Kwanzaa have until Nov. 14 to get their first shot of the two-dose Moderna vaccine or Nov. 21 for the first shot of the Pfizer vaccine.Participants who want the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine have until Dec. 12 to get it.

Vaccinations:

• In Illinois, about 7.27 million people — or 57.09 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.

• Across the state, 62,689 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 16,256,855 vaccine doses of the 19,421,825 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.6 million Chicagoans — or 59.8 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 65.5 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-nine Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19 since Wednesday.

• At least 26,077 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 2,909 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 7,952 cases since Wednesday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,735,586.

• Since Wednesday, 341,388 tests were reported statewide. In all, 37,016,510 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day case positivity rate was at 2.5 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 2.5 percent Wednesday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 3 percent. It was at 2.8 percent Wednesday.

• As of Thursday night, 307 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 140 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, six deaths were reported since Wednesday. There have been at least 5,941 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of two people dying per day, down 39 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago has had 1,255 confirmed cases reported since Wednesday. It’s had a total of 332,272 confirmed cases. An average of 414 confirmed cases are being reported per day, up 24 percent from the week prior.

• Testing in Chicago is up 3 percent since a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 2.2 percent, up from 1.8 percent the week prior.

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