Chicago marks one year since first dose of COVID vaccine was administered – NBC Chicago

NOTE: NBC Chicago will host a live webcast of the Department of Health press conference starting at 11:30 am. Watch live in the player above.

Wednesday marked a year since Chicago’s first residents received their first doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

It was a scene that many remember very well.

Five health workers sit in a room at Loretto Hospital, receiving the highly anticipated vaccine amid a pandemic wave just before the Christmas holidays. Images of trucks loaded with freezer packs of the COVID-19 vaccine flooded television screens as doses were distributed to hospitals across the country.

Since then, the city has administered nearly 4 million doses of the vaccine to residents, with just under 70% of residents having received at least one dose of the vaccine so far.

Meanwhile, about 200 million Americans are fully immunized, or just over 60% of the population. This is well below what scientists say is necessary to control the virus.

A year later, Chicago is grappling with a further increase in the number of cases and the emergence of a new variant, as authorities continue efforts to vaccinate, or now reinforce residents.

In the Midwest and the United States, cases and hospitalizations are on the rise again in a spike driven by the highly contagious delta variant, which arrived in the first half of 2021 and now accounts for virtually all infections. Now the omicron variant is gaining a foothold in the country, although scientists are not sure how dangerous it is.

“We have a great burden of COVID patients in our hospitals in Illinois and Wisconsin,” Dr. Robert Citronberg, medical director of infectious diseases and prevention at Advocate Aurora Health.

Vaccine anniversary comes as tragic milestone takes US

When the vaccine was first launched, the country’s death toll stood at around 300,000. It reached 600,000 in mid-June and 700,000 on October 1. Then on Tuesday, the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 800,000.

“Almost all of the people who die now die of preventable deaths,” said Dr. Chris Beyrer, epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “And that’s because they’re not immune. And you know, my God, this is a terrible tragedy.

With the measures increasing, officials say the same vaccine that started a year ago may also soon be key to some business in Chicago.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said this week that city officials are considering various strategies and potential mitigation measures to help curb the spread of the virus and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr Allison Arwady said earlier this month that proof of vaccination for some activities and public places could be on the horizon.

“Could we start requiring proof of vaccination for more activities and public spaces?” Yeah, I think we could, ”Arwady said. “I’m definitely more interested in that than the need to make some of the major saves. “

Lightfoot, speaking to media on Monday, said the city had not “landed on a particular strategy” to slow the spread of the virus, but that a variety of options were on the table.

Lightfoot and other public officials have expressed concern over the growing number of new cases in both the city and state of Illinois. Lightfoot says the city reported nearly 1,000 new cases of COVID as of Monday alone, prompting discussion of potential mitigation strategies.

Sports venues in the city, including the United Center, have instituted vaccines or negative tests for ticket holders, but the idea is also gaining traction in other businesses, including restaurants and concert halls.

Chicago plans to mark the vaccine’s anniversary on Wednesday at a press conference with senior public health officials, including Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr Allison Arwady, who aims to continue efforts to encourage vaccinations.

“There are parts of the city that continue to fall behind and some demographics that we are working on,” she told a Facebook Live Tuesday, adding that “just since Thanksgiving there have been three infections. times more likely in unvaccinated Chicagoans “.

The anniversary event is scheduled to take place at 11:30 a.m. at the Greater Lawn Immunizations Clinic, located at 4150 W. 55th St.

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