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Vaccination is the biggest gift this year, says Governor Pritzker

ILLINOIS – The state launches a new vaccination campaign, calling life-saving vaccinations from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson “the greatest gift you can give this year.”

The push comes as state health officials say unvaccinated teenagers are causing classroom outbreaks and causing a surge in coronavirus cases before the holidays. Vaccines are now available for children 5 years and older.

State health officials say the statewide mask mandate is likely to last through the holidays, but that widespread vaccines will make it safer to celebrate the holidays with friends and family.

“Vaccines work and are our best protection for ourselves and our loved ones as we celebrate the holidays,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of public health for the state. “We have all been through a lot in the past two years, and full vaccination brings us one step closer to celebrating our cherished traditions again. Your life-saving vaccination is the greatest gift you can give this holiday season.”

Officials say the vaccination campaign will “hit every corner of Illinois” and reach residents in both English and Spanish through traditional and online media channels including cable, radio, radio, billboards, print and social media. The costs of the campaign are to be reimbursed by the federal government.

“As we look forward to returning to a Christmas season full of family and friends, the greatest gift you can give is to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19,” Governor JB Pritzker said in a statement. “As a father, I was relieved when my children were vaccinated because I know they are protected from illness with this deadly virus. I urge all parents to protect their families with the incredibly effective COVID-19 vaccine. “

The state embassy is gaining traction as hospital stays and deaths rise across the state.

On Friday, the Illinois Department of Health reported 28,280 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 across the country and 150 more deaths in the past week.

A total of 1.76 million cases have been diagnosed in Illinois since the pandemic began and 26,227 Illinois residents have died. As of Friday, 1,759 people across the country will remain in hospital, including 350 in intensive care units and 152 on ventilators.

The nationwide case positivity rate is up 0.7 percentage points, from 2.5 percent a week ago to 3.2 percent on Friday. The test positive rate increased by 1.3 percentage points to 3.8 percent.

State health officials report that about 61 percent of Illinois residents have been fully vaccinated while about 67 percent received at least one vaccination. But the percentages vary widely depending on the county. For example, in Cook County, more than 63 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, while in Alexander County it is only 19 percent.

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