Illinois Enhances Vaccination & Testing Capacity (December 28, 2021)
The Governor has directed the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to enhance its partnerships with local health department mass vaccination operations throughout the state to help meet the growing demand for the COVID-19 vaccine booster. In recent weeks, the State of Illinois partnered with Cook County Health to offer two one-day booster clinics, resulting in about 7,000 shots administered. Vaccination appointments can be scheduled using Cook County’s website. Many locations will also offer walk-up testing. Starting the week of January 3, 2022, free Community-Based Testing Sites will begin operating six days a week to increase COVID-19 testing availability across the state.
All Adults Now Booster Eligible (November 19, 2021)
The Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) supports the decision by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to open COVID-19 booster shots to anyone 18 years and older. All individuals 18 years and older can get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose if it has been at least 6 months after receiving their second Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, or at least two months after receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Early data show that the vaccines’ effectiveness against COVID-19 infections is decreasing over time. The lower effectiveness is likely due to the combination of decreasing protection as time passes since getting vaccinated, as well as the greater virulence of the Delta variant.
While patients should get the same type of vaccine for both their first and second doses, the CDC has said mixing and matching vaccines for booster shots is allowed. For example, if a patient received two doses of the Moderna vaccine, they may opt to get a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for their booster dose. Or if a patient received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, they may choose Moderna for their booster dose. Patients just need to wait at least 6 months after their second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, or at least 2 months after their one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Individuals can contact their health care provider or visit www.cookcountypublichealth.org to find a nearby location to receive a booster dose. People who have questions about vaccines and booster doses can call the CCDPH’s COVID-19 Call Center at 1-833-308-1988. Residents who wish to receive a free ride to and from vaccination from our "Destination: Vaccination" program can also arrange the service at that number.
IDPH Adopts CDC Recommendations for Booster Doses (October 22, 2021)
On Thursday, October 21, 2021, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation for a booster shot of both Moderna and Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines in individuals 18 years and older. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authorization and CDC’s guidance for use are important steps forward as we work to stay ahead of the virus and keep Americans safe. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) fully supports CDC’s recommendation. The CDC press release can be found here.
Vaccination Sites Across Illinois Ready to Administer Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine to Youths Ages 12 through 15 (May 12, 2021)
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced vaccination locations across the state are prepared to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to youth ages 12 through 15 years after the Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices (ACIP) voted today to recommend its use. The announcement comes following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent expansion of the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in those youths.
Previously, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was authorized for use in individuals ages 16 years and older. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is administered as a series of two doses, three weeks apart, for all eligible individuals.
COVID-19 vaccinations for those 12 years and older are available at state-supported mass vaccination and mobile clinics, local health departments, pharmacies, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and from other providers who offer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. IDPH is working to enroll pediatricians into the State immunization registry so they can administer COVID-19 vaccine to their patients. Additionally, schools may partner with the local health department or pharmacy to set up vaccination clinics for students. Individuals should check with their local health department or health care provider about whether a parent or guardian must be present for an individual under the age of 18 to receive the vaccine, or whether some other form of written consent is required.
In clinical trials, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was found to be 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 among participants ages 12 through 15 years. The side effects in adolescents were similar with those reported in clinical trial participants 16 years of age and older and included pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, chills, muscle and joint pain, and fever.