CHICAGO (WMBD) — New COVID-19 booster shots developed to combat new variants become available next week, and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is urging all Illinoisans to do so.
The updated Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech boosters were given emergency use authorization by the FDA earlier this week. Moderna is authorized for ages 18 and up, and Pfizer is authorized for anyone 12 or older.
The bivalent vaccine boosters add a new mRNA component to fight the omicron varient BA.4 and BA.5 in addition to protection against the original strain of COVID-19.
“Once the updated booster shots become available next week, I urge everyone in Illinois who is eligible to take advantage of the opportunity to get fully protected before we enter the fall season,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “These new bivalent vaccines are designed to offer extra protection against the omicron variants which are now the dominant strain of the virus. Getting up to date now is especially important for those who are at risk of serious outcomes as the updated vaccines offer protection from hospitalization and even death.”
IDPH expects to receive 580,000 doses for distribution in Illinois next week, as well as an additional 150,000 doses designated specifically for Chicago.
Boosters will be available at pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare providers beginning next week. Locations and appointment times can be found at www.vaccines.gov.
IDPH is currently reporting a total of 3,696,385 cases, include 34,747 deaths, in all 102 Illinois counties since the beginning of the pandemic. 90 counties are currently rated at medium or high level of COVID-19 transmission.
As of Thursday night, 1,263 Illinoisans were reported to be hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those, 154 were in the ICU and 46 patients were on ventilators.
The Peoria area and the Bloomington-Normal area are both rated as medium risk of COVID-19 transmission. At medium risk, IDPH recommends all elderly or immunocompromised people wear a mask in indoor public places, and that all people are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccine series.
More information about the COVID-19 pandemic, boosters, and other resources can be found on IDPH’s COVID Dashboard.