In the three weeks since officials approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11, 186,569 Illinois children in that cohort have received at least one dose, data from the Illinois Department of Health showed on Wednesday.
And total vaccinations continued to show a strong performance compared to the summer lows, with 74,804 more COVID-19 vaccinations in the arms on Tuesday, more than the seven-day average of 64,199.
In support of the numbers, 1.72 million booster syringes contributed on Tuesday.
Why should you get a booster?
With COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions rising, “it is imperative that anyone who is eligible is vaccinated,” said Dr. Gregory Huhn, Infectious Disease Physician and COVID-19 Vaccine Director for Cook County Health.
“The boosters themselves provide additional protection for those who are in environments where unvaccinated people live and are at risk of transmission, especially indoors as the weather gets colder and we move more indoors.”
Boosters recommended after six months for people vaccinated with the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and after two months for those who received Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccination, support declining immunity, Huhn explained .
“It revives what we call these memory cells that are reanimated to provide a very broad immune response that even covers the Delta virus,” a highly contagious variant of COVID-19.
Will another booster be needed at some point?
“We really don’t know that now,” said Huhn. “We don’t know how the variants will develop. It is possible that we need a booster every year. But if the numbers really go down noticeably after the winter time, then I think that we” I will examine this data and see if another booster is needed. “
And what about mixing and matching cans with boosters? That’s okay, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. “Some people may prefer the type of vaccine they were originally given and others might prefer a different booster dose,” officials said.
Huhn noted that data shows that people who originally received the J&J vaccine and switched to Pfizer or Moderna for their booster vaccine found that “antibody responses really increase much more than any other J&J.”
State health officials reported 5,058 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, with 19 more deaths from the respiratory disease.
Illinois hospitals treated 1,982 COVID-19 patients Tuesday night, the majority since September 22. The seven-day average for hospital stays is 1,808.6.
The state’s positivity rate for COVID-19 cases is 3.3%, based on a seven-day average.
To date, 7,349,241 people have been fully vaccinated, which is roughly 57.7% of Illinois’ 12.7 million population.
The federal government has delivered 20,050,445 doses of vaccine to Illinois and given 17,031,036 vaccinations since distribution began in mid-December.
The total number of cases across the state stands at 1,784,900 and 26,313 Illinois residents have died since the pandemic began.
Labs processed 139,801 virus tests in the past 24 hours.