Press Release - Thursday, November 10, 2022
IDPH Announces More than 1.5 Million Illinoisans Have Received Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccines
CHICAGO - The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported that more than 1.5 million people in Illinois have received a dose of the new bivalent COVID-19 vaccines since they were authorized for use in September, with about 160,000 doses administered in the last week. The state also reported that it has surpassed the 25 million threshold for total COVID-19 vaccinations. With the Thanksgiving holidays fast approaching, IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra is strongly urging Illinoisans to full protect themselves and their loved ones by making sure they are fully up-to-date with a COVID-19 booster and a flu shot before gathering with family and friends.
As of last week, 31 counties in Illinois are at an elevated Community Level for COVID-19, with all of those at the Medium level. Those CDC numbers will be updated by tomorrow, November 11. IDPH is reporting 11,020 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, and 38 deaths since November 4.
"As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, we continue to see respiratory viruses spreading rapidly across Illinois and across the country - this includes RSV, influenza, and COVID-19," said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. "The U.S. is currently facing its highest flu hospitalization rate in a decade, with young children and seniors most at risk. Vaccines remain our best tools to prevent the worst outcomes from COVID-19 and flu. I strongly recommend all that have not gotten full protection from COVID-19 and the flu to get vaccinated right away. Both the new COVID-19 bivalent booster and the flu shot target the current strains of these viruses."
In addition to urging the public to get fully protected with vaccines, IDPH is also helping Illinoisans prepare for a potential fall and winter surge of COVID-19 cases by offering 1 million free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests to residents in economically disadvantaged zip codes through a partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation's public charity, RF Catalytic Capital and its Project ACT (Access COVID Tests) program.
Through Project ACT, IDPH will be distributing one million at-home antigen tests to 200,000 Illinois families in zip codes outside the City of Chicago that are rated high on a Social Vulnerability Index (SVI). Households can find out if they are in an eligible zip code and request one package of five tests on a first-come-first-serve basis at the Project ACT website. The tests will be delivered to the home address.
Free or low cost COVID-19 testing locations are also available throughout the state, including in Chicago, and can be found on the IDPH website's testing locator page.
IDPH reported that over the last week, large numbers of Illinoisans are continuing to receive the new bivalent boosters, with an average of more than 23,000 doses of the updated vaccines administered across the state each day.
The CDC authorized two new bivalent booster vaccines on September 1 that include an mRNA component of the original strain to provide an immune response that is broadly protective against COVID-19 and an added mRNA component in common between the omicron variant BA.4 and BA.5 lineages to provide better protection against COVID-19 caused by the omicron variant.
Initially, the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent, was authorized for use as a single booster dose in individuals 18 years of age and older and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent, was authorized for use as a single booster dose in individuals 12 years of age and older. On October 12, the CDC authorized the updated COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech for children ages 5 through 11 years, and from Moderna for children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years.
The updated boosters are available at pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. The best way to locate a vaccine provider near you is to visit www.vaccines.gov and search for bivalent booster availability.
Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 3,834,925 cases, including 35,327 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois since the beginning of the pandemic.
As of last night, 1,109 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 147 patients were in the ICU and 42 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. The preliminary seven-day statewide case rate is 106 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Illinoisans.
In counties at the Medium Community Level, persons who are elderly or immunocompromised (at risk of severe outcomes) are advised to wear a mask in indoor public places. They should also get up to date on COVID-19 vaccines or get their bivalent booster, if eligible.
IDPH has been supporting pharmacies and healthcare providers in efforts to increase their inventories of the various FDA-authorized treatments. There are over 1,200 treatment locations in Illinois - including all the major retail pharmacies. More than 96.7% of the state's population is within a 10-mile radius of one of these locations.
A total of 25,002,064 vaccines have been administered in Illinois. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 25,163 doses, including the bivalent booster and first doses. Since November 4, 148,558 vaccine doses were reported administered in Illinois. More than 1.5 million people in Illinois have received the new bivalent booster dose since it was authorized. Of Illinois' total population, more than 78% have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, more than 70% have completed their primary series of COVID-19 vaccines, and of the eligible population, more than 11% have received the bivalent booster dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Data indicates that the risk of hospitalization and severe outcomes from COVID-19 is much higher for unvaccinated people than for those who are up to date on their vaccinations. All data are provisional and are subject to change. Additional information and COVID-19 data can be found at https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19.html.
Vaccination is the key to ending this pandemic. To find a COVID-19 vaccination location near you, go to www.vaccines.gov. The federal government has established a new website that provides an all-purpose toolkit with information on how to obtain masks, treatment, vaccines and testing resources for all areas of the country at: https://www.covid.gov/.