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Kids 12 And Older Can Now Get COVID-19 Booster Shots

The move comes as Chicago sees an uptick in children being hospitalized with COVID-19. Most of those in hospitals are unvaccinated.

Elizabeth Soto smiles at her son, Alex, 7, before he receives his first COVID-19 vaccine dose at Esperanza Health Centers, 6057 S. Western Ave., on Nov. 3, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Kids 12 and older can start getting COVID-19 booster shots immediately if they’re eligible.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, approved Pfizer booster shots for kids 12-15 on Wednesday night if it’s been at least five months since a child’s second dose of the vaccine. The move comes as Chicago has seen an uptick in kids getting hospitalized with COVID-19.

About 62.8 percent of Chicago kids 12-17 are fully vaccinated, according to city data. They are eligible for a Pfizer booster shot once it’s been five months since their second shot.

Kids 5-11 who are moderately or severely immunocompromised can also now receive a booster shot if it’s been 28 days since their second shot.

“The Chicago Department of Public Health supports these decisions and encourages all eligible Chicagoans, age 12 and up, to get their booster dose now – no matter the type of COVID-19 vaccine they originally received,” according to a department news release.

Officials have said being fully vaccinated and getting a booster shot is key to protecting yourself and people around you during the latest wave of the pandemic.

COVID-19 has not been as risky for children as for adults, but the city has seen children hospitalized with and dying from the virus.

And in recent weeks, the Omicron variant has rapidly driven up cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Chicago and throughout Illinois. With that surge has also come a rise in children getting the virus and needing to be hospitalized with it.

Of about 550,000 children in Chicago, the city is seeing an average of seven kids admitted to the hospital per day with COVID-19, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said earlier this week.

The bulk of people being hospitalized with and dying from COVID-19 are unvaccinated, officials have said.

Between Thanksgiving and Dec. 29, Chicago had 55 children hospitalized with COVID-19 — and 46 of them were unvaccinated, Arwady said.

Booster shots have already been approved for people 16 and older.


• In Illinois, about 7.7 million people — or 60.84 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.

• Across the state, 43,690 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.

• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 19,475,871 vaccine doses of the 22,038,805 provided to them.

• City data shows more than 1.7 million Chicagoans — or 64.8 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 72 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:

• Since Wednesday, 104 Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19.

• At least 28,260 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 3,276 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.

• The state reported 44,089 cases since Wednesday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 2,339,534.

• Since Wednesday, 247,830 tests were reported statewide. In all, 45,758,467 tests have been reported in Illinois.

• Illinois’ seven-day case positivity rate was at 14.7 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 14.2 percent Wednesday.

• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 18.6 percent. It was at 18.4 percent Wednesday.

• As of Wednesday night, 1,119 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 646 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.

• In Chicago, 20 deaths were reported since Wednesday. There have been at least 6,367 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of 11 people dying per day, down 15 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago has had 8,434 confirmed cases reported since Wednesday. It’s had a total of 457,849 confirmed cases. An average of 4,998 confirmed cases are being reported per day, up 21 percent from a week ago.

• Testing in Chicago is down 25 percent from a week ago.

• Chicago’s positivity rate is at 23 percent, up from 14.8 percent the week prior.

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