Illinois Coronavirus Updates: Deadline Approaches for City Worker Vaccines, Where to Get Boosters

The deadline is approaching for city employees to get their vaccines to comply with Chicago’s mandate. Plus, where can eligible people get their COVID vaccine booster shots in the Chicago area? Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today: Deadline for City Workers to Get COVID Vaccine for Chicago’s Mandate Approaches The deadline for city workers to comply with Chicago’s vaccine mandate is fast approaching. The city’s vaccine policy will take effect on Oct. 15 and requires all city employees and volunteers to be fully vaccinated by that date. “Fully vaccinated” is defined as two weeks past the second dose of a two-dose mRNA vaccine or two weeks past a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, meaning workers will need to get their shots by the end of this week to comply. Employees will need to submit proof of vaccination through an online COVID-19 Vaccine Portal.  Employees can apply for medical or religious exemptions, but such requests will be reviewed by the Department of Human Resources on a case-by-case basis, the city said. Chicago announced the vaccine mandate in August, stating all city employees will be required to get vaccinated. “The data shows that getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and those you come in contact with from serious illness, hospitalization, or death from COVID-19,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement at the time. “Adopting and implementing this requirement is the responsible, common-sense approach, which is why we’re seeing so many other government agencies, companies, institutions, and organizations pursue this course of action.”  More Fake COVID Vaccination Cards Seized by Chicago Officials Over 40 counterfeit coronavirus vaccination cards were seized Monday by Chicago officials at O’Hare International Airport for the second time this September. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the International Mail Facility found fake COVID vaccine cards from two packages, originally coming from China, officials said. According to a release, the packages were labeled that they held greeting cards, but inside were 21 counterfeit COVID vaccination cards in one parcel and 20 fake cards in the other. Read more here. Where You Can Get a Booster Shot of the COVID Vaccine in Illinois COVID vaccine booster shots are now available for millions of eligible residents, but where can you get them? The CDC last week endorsed booster shots for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans. The Illinois Department of Public Health said Friday it is adopting the CDC’s recommendations for eligible people to receive a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Illinois. “While the vaccines continue to be highly effective at preventing severe illnesses, hospitalization, death, as we learn more about COVID-19 and the science evolves, so too must our recommendations,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike in a statement. The department said it “recommends vaccine providers prioritize those at highest risk of severe illness among the eligible booster population.” See a list of places where eligible people can get booster shots. Vaccine Events in Chicago Today Intrinsic Schools – Downtown Campus: 5:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.CDPH Greater Lawn Immunization Clinic: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.CDPH Uptown Immunization Clinic: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.Flu & COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.Park District: 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.Commissioner Bill Lowry’s Men’s Health Fair: 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. United Airlines Moves to Fire Employees Who Didn’t Comply With COVID Vaccine Mandate According to a memo sent to employees Tuesday, Chicago-based United Airlines will soon begin the process of terminating nearly 600 employees who refused the company’s coronavirus vaccine requirement. The memo, sent out by United CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart, says that more than 99% of the company’s employees were either fully vaccinated or received a religious or medical accommodation. While the deadline for requesting those extensions has been extended, the company will move to terminate a total of 593 employees, according to a spokesperson. Read more here. Chicago Moves to ‘Lower Transmission’ for COVID Risk. Here’s What That Means for Masks As Chicago moves down from “high transmission” for COVID-19 risk, the city’s top doctor says health officials are in discussion with the state regarding Illinois’ mask mandate. As of Tuesday, Chicago Department of Public Health data showed an average daily coronavirus case count of 369, which puts the city at “substantial transmission” down from “high transmission.” CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady noted that the city’s test positivity rate, hospital capacity and ICU capacity have all dropped to “lower transmission,” as well. What does this mean for masks? Read more here. COVID Vaccine and Kids: The Latest on Timing as Pfizer Submits Trial Data Now that Pfizer has submitted initial trial data to the Food and Drug Administration for use of its COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11, what will that mean for parents? The move is a key step toward beginning vaccinations for youngsters, but authorization for COVID vaccines in kids under 12 is likely still weeks away. Here’s the latest on timing. COVID Booster Shots: What Illinois Residents Should Know as Extra Doses Begin COVID vaccine booster shots are now available for millions of eligible residents, but what should Illinois residents know as they prepare for their next shot? The CDC last week endorsed booster shots for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on a series of recommendations from a panel of advisers late Thursday. However, Walensky decided to make one recommendation that the panel had rejected. Here’s what we know so far. Can Kids Get Flu, COVID Shots at Same Time? Pediatricians, CDC Say Yes With flu season nearing, doctors are encouraging individuals to get the flu shot, and are informing parents that it is safe to get both the flu and COVID vaccines at the same time. Currently, children age 12 and older are permitted to get the Pfizer COVID vaccine under terms of the FDA’s emergency use authorization for the treatment. Experts anticipate that the vaccine will soon be approved for children between the ages of 5 and 11. Early in the pandemic, the CDC had recommended spacing out vaccinations, but has announced that further research indicates that getting both the COVID and flu shots at the same time is safe and effective in preventing both illnesses. Read more here. coronavirus Sep 24 CDC Director Defends Unusual Decision on Pfizer's Covid Boosters: ‘This Was a Scientific Close Call' covid booster shot Sep 24 Moderna, J&J: What to Know About Booster Shots for Those Who Didn't Get Pfizer Vaccine Moderna vs. Pfizer: Is One Vaccine Stronger Against Delta Variant? With many now able to choose which COVID vaccine they receive, questions surrounding which offers better protection against the now-surging delta variant have spiked. Several studies have been conducted to determine vaccine effectiveness, but is one vaccine actually better than the others? According to medical experts, the three vaccines currently available in the U.S. each offer protection. Here’s a breakdown of what we know so far about each vaccine. Get the latest news on COVID vaccines in your inbox. Click here to sign up for our coronavirus newsletter.

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