Chicago Department of Public Health Marks Two-Year Anniversary of First COVID-19 Vaccinations in the City, Urges Better Booster Uptake
More than 5.6 million vaccines administered in Chicago since December 2020
COVID-19 Joint Information Center email@example.com
Chicago — The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today marked the two-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 vaccines administered in Chicago while urging Chicagoans to remain up to date on their vaccines and exercise caution heading into winter and the holiday season with case rates again on the rise. Since December 15, 2020, more than 5.6 million vaccines have been administered in the city, and more than 2 million Chicagoans have received at least one dose of vaccine.
“This is a tremendous milestone, which we could never have reached without the support and collaboration of so many healthcare and community partners in Chicago. I thank them for all their hard work,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “I also want to thank every single Chicagoan, from our littlest at six months to our seniors, who has stepped up and gotten vaccinated. Your willingness to protect yourself and your community has literally saved lives.”
A new study from the Commonwealth Fund and the Yale School of Public Health estimates that in the United States, the COVID-19 vaccination program has prevented more than 3 million deaths and 18 million hospitalizations, and saved more than $1 trillion in medical costs.
“COVID-19 has taken a toll on our city, and I want to acknowledge the nearly 8,000 Chicagoans we have lost to the pandemic,” said Dr. Arwady. “This is a tragedy. But without vaccines, we would have lost thousands more lives in Chicago. Because we have safe, effective vaccines, our hospitals are not currently overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, our schools are open and kids are learning, businesses, restaurants, theaters, and shops are going strong, and families can gather for the holidays.”
But Dr. Arwady warned that COVD-19 cases are again on the rise in Chicago and around the country. Cook County and Chicago are at the Medium COVID level according to CDC metrics and inching toward High; New York City and Los Angeles recently tipped into High. She and other health officials also say not enough Chicagoans have gotten the new bivalent booster dose, despite its effectiveness and wide availability. Last week, federal health officials approved the administration of the updated COVID-19 booster for children ages 6 months and up. The updated vaccine is free for all, regardless of health insurance status, and is designed to better protect against Omicron subvariants as well as original strains of the virus. The bivalent booster generates a stronger immune response against current and future Omicron subvariants.
“Vaccines are an essential tool for allowing children and families to live safely in a world with COVID-19,” said Larry K. Kociolek, MD, MSCI, FSHEA, FPIDS, Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control and Infectious Diseases physician at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. “Vaccines and boosters prevent hospitalization and deaths, permit safe travel and holiday gatherings, and minimize time missed from school and activities because of illness. We are very excited that young children now have an effective booster available for them.”
The bivalent vaccine has been authorized as a third vaccine for the youngest children ages 6 months to 4 years. The FDA provided specific guidance around the bivalent booster for young children:
- Children ages 6 months through 5 years who previously completed a Moderna primary series are eligible to receive a Moderna bivalent booster 2 months after their final primary series dose.
- Children ages 6 months through 4 years who are currently completing a Pfizer primary series will receive a Pfizer bivalent vaccine as their third primary dose.
CDPH is hosting a freeflu/COVID-19 vaccination clinicon Saturday, December 17 at Richard J. Daley College, 7500 S. Pulaski Rd., from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration is recommended, but walk-ins will be accommodated. Primary series COVID-19 vaccines and flu vaccines for Chicagoans 6 months and up will be offered, as well as bivalent COVID-19 boosters for those who are eligible. To make an appointment, register at rebrand.ly/DaleyCollege or call (312) 746-4835.
The City continues to operate Protect Chicago At Home, its completely free program that will bring COVID-19 and flu vaccines right to any Chicagoan’s home and vaccinate up to 10 people in a single appointment. COVID-19 vaccines, including primary doses and the new booster vaccines are available for anyone age 6 months and up. Chicagoans age 6 months and up can also receive a flu vaccine at home if at least one member of the household is receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Appointments are available mornings, afternoons, and evenings, weekdays and weekends. Make an at-home appointment for your family at Chicago.gov/AtHome or by calling (312) 746-4835.
Key COVID-19 vaccine milestones in Chicago in the last 12 months:
- Began administering primary series vaccines for children ages 5 to 12 years in November 2021
- Began administering primary series vaccines for children ages 6 months to 5 years in June 2022
- Began administering the new updated COVID-19 vaccines, also known as bivalent boosters, for youth and adults ages 12 and up in September 2022
- Began administering bivalent boosters for children ages 5 to 12 years in October 2022
- Surpassed 5.6 million vaccine doses administered to Chicagoans
- 80 percent of all Chicagoans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
- Ready to rollout bivalent boosters for children ages 6 months to 5 years in December 2022
For additional COVID-19 information, visit Chicago.gov/COVID.