Public health officials on Friday announced Illinois’ second-most productive COVID-19 vaccination day yet with 166,885 doses going into arms statewide.
Nearly a quarter of all Illinoisans are now fully immunized against the coronavirus after Thursday’s shot effort, which came a week after the state set a record with almost 176,000 administered doses.
Illinois is now averaging about 130,000 shots per day as Chicago vaccine providers prepare to expand eligibility to all residents 16 and older starting Monday.
A federal pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine means there won’t be as many appointments available as officials might have thought a week ago, but the state has downplayed that obstacle. J&J doses only account for about 8% of Illinois’ vaccine supply.
Most appointments at city-run sites will go ahead as scheduled next week after shuffling around some doses, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.
Mass vax sites at the United Center and Chicago State University will use Pfizer doses instead of J&J, as will the off-site Walgreens clinics that are scheduled to distribute doses at houses of worship this weekend, officials said Friday. The city’s program for homebound residents has switched to Pfizer, too.
The Chicago Federation of Labor vaccination site will receive Pfizer and Moderna doses too, but that South Side location will temporarily be limited to 1,200 doses per week.
Three other city efforts are at a full stop for now, including the O’Hare Airport vaccination site for transportation workers and a series of Illinois Restaurant Association events. The city’s “vaccination bus” is out of service, too.
COVID-19 infections have been on the rise for the past month even while the vaccine effort picks up momentum — but officials have expressed optimism the state might be flattening its latest curve.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,866 more cases were diagnosed among the latest 93,602 tests, keeping the state’s seven-day average positivity rate at 4.2% — twice as high as it was in mid-March, but the fourth straight day it’s fallen or held steady.
Hospitals took on an additional 15 COVID-19 patients with 2,058 beds occupied Thursday night. That’s nearly a thousand more coronavirus patients than were admitted March 12.
The state also reported 21 more deaths, including that of a Cook County man in his 40s, raising Illinois’ pandemic toll to 21,630.
Nearly 1.3 million residents have contracted the virus over the past year, compared to about 3.2 million who are now fully vaccinated.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady have urged residents to get shots wherever they can find them. Thousands of appointments are available through the weekend and into next week at a federally run vaccination site in Gary, Indiana, which is open to Illinois residents.
For help finding a vaccine appointment in-state, visit coronavirus.illinois.gov or call (833) 621-1284.
COVID-19 vaccine doses administered by day
Graphic by Jesse Howe and Caroline Hurley | Sun-Times
Source: Illinois Department of Public Health