Getting the shots: Strong demand continues for latest COVID-19 vaccines – NPR Illinois

Demand remains strong for the new, updated COVID-19 vaccines since they were authorized for use at the beginning of September. Daily vaccination numbers are at the highest level seen since early February, during the major surge in illnesses caused by the Omicron variant.

The announcement comes as 36 counties in Illinois are rated at an elevated level for COVID by the CDC. That number is down by nearly half, from 66, the week before.

“Across Illinois we are seeing a large numbers of state residents taking action to protect themselves and their loved ones by seeking out the updated COVID-19 booster shots,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “This is an encouraging sign as we head into the fall season and face a potential increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Illinois is fortunate to have a significant supply of bivalent boosters. I strongly urge all that are eligible to contact their local pharmacies or medical providers to get protected as soon as possible – both from COVID-19 and the flu. These vaccines are especially important for those most vulnerable to severe illness, such as those individuals over 50, those with underlying medical conditions, and those who are immunocompromised.”

The public health agency says in the past week, an average of more than 19,000 doses of the new vaccines have been administered across the state each day.

The CDC authorized two new bivalent booster vaccines on September 2 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.

The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent, is authorized for use as a single booster dose in individuals 18 years of age and older. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent, is authorized for use as a single booster dose in individuals 12 years of age and older.

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.

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