More than 137,000 Illinoisans received bivalent COVID-19 booster shots this week

FILE - Booster shots of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are displayed during a vaccine clinic in...
FILE - Booster shots of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are displayed during a vaccine clinic in Townshend, Vt., on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. U.S. health officials say 4.4 million Americans have rolled up their sleeves for the updated COVID-19 booster shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted the count Thursday as public health experts bemoaned President Joe Biden’s recent remark that “the pandemic is over.”(Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 3:08 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - The Illinois Department of Public Health and CDC reported Friday that only three counties across the state are considered at high risk for COVID-19. There are now only 33 counties listed at the medium-level risk for COVID. The counties listed at high community level are Ford, Jefferson, and Wayne.

IDPH officials also announced that more than 137,000 Illinoisans have received a dose of the new bivalent COVID-19 booster shots in the past week. The department noted that 341,000 people in the state have been boosted with the recently approved vaccine since the start of September.

IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said a large number of people are protecting themselves and their loved ones by getting updated booster shots.

“This is an encouraging sign as we head into the fall season and face a potential increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations,” Vohra said. “Illinois is fortunate to have a significant supply of bivalent boosters. I strongly urge all that are eligible to contact their local pharmacies or medical providers to get protected as soon as possible – both from COVID-19 and the flu.”

Vohra also stressed that the vaccines are especially important for people most vulnerable to severe illness, including anyone over 50, individuals with underlying health conditions, and those who are immunocompromised. IDPH reported that over the last week, an average of more than 19,000 doses of the new bivalent vaccines have been administered across the state each day. This is more than double the daily average for all vaccinations for most of the summer.

The Moderna bivalent vaccine single dose booster is authorized for anyone 18 and older. The Pfizer bivalent vaccine is authorized for use as a single booster dose for people 12 and older.

IDPH officials said daily vaccination numbers are at the highest level seen since early February, during the major surge in illnesses caused by the Omicron variant. 29,542 vaccines were given over the last 24 hours. 85.4% of Illinoisans 12 and older have received at least one shot. 77.4% of those people are fully vaccinated. The 7-day rolling average for shots given is 24,840.

State officials reported 17,373 new confirmed and probable cases since last Friday. The department also reported another 62 deaths during that time. IDPH says 34,947 Illinoisans have died from COVID-related illness since the pandemic started.

IDPH reported 2,210 new confirmed and probable cases and 12 deaths on Friday. The case rate 7-day average is now 136 per 100,000 people.

1,069 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19 in Illinois. 147 people are in the ICU and 40 of those patients are on ventilators.

The three counties in orange are now listed at high community level for COVID-19. There are...
The three counties in orange are now listed at high community level for COVID-19. There are also 33 counties in yellow rated at the medium community level.(Illinois Department of Public Health)

The CDC recommends people in areas rated at the high community level should wear well-fitted masks indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status. The organization notes that the recommendation includes masking in K-12 schools and other indoor community settings. People who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe disease should wear a mask or respirator for greater protection and consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public. The CDC said those people should also have a plan for at-home testing and talk with a healthcare provider if they test positive to learn about oral antivirals and monoclonal antibodies.

Anyone in close contact with someone at high risk for severe disease is advised to consider self-testing to detect COVID-19 infection before contact. The CDC also said those people should wear a mask whenever they are inside with someone at higher risk for disease.

Elderly or immunocompromised people living in areas labeled at medium-level risk for COVID-19 should wear masks in indoor places as well. The CDC said those individuals should be up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines and get a second booster shot if eligible.

IDPH data indicated that the risk of hospitalization and severe outcomes from COVID-19 is much higher for unvaccinated people than for people who are up to date on their vaccinations.

The state continues to work with pharmacies and healthcare providers to increase the inventory of various FDA-authorized treatments. IDPH reported there are over 1,200 treatment locations across the state, including all major retail pharmacies. More than 96.7% of the state’s population is within a 10-mile radius of one of these locations.

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