CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. JB Pritzker said the state of Illinois will send 50,000 doses of Moderna and Pfizer coronavirus vaccines to the city of Chicago, after state and local officials paused administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on the advice of federal authorities.
The CDC and FDA have recommended a “pause” in giving out Johnson & Johnson vaccines while they look into reports of six people experiencing serious blood clots several days after getting vaccinated.READ MORE: Man Killed, Two Others Injured In Hit-And-Run Crash In Homan Square
The Illinois Department of Public Health, Chicago Department of Public Health, and Cook County Health all have put Johnson & Johnson vaccinations on hold as a result.
The city of Chicago also has postponed several vaccination programs, and switched others to the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine while use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is paused.
Tuesday afternoon, Pritzker announced on Twitter that the state would be allocating 50,000 first doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to the city of Chicago over the next week in order to help make up for the pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccinations. The state also later will send another 50,000 doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to the city in time for people to get their second doses.
“I hope that it really marks continued ongoing partnership here in terms of making sure that parts of the state that are surging, and particularly parts of the state that are relatively under-vaccinated, can get vaccine. So I was pleased to see it,” Arwady said.
Arwady said, while she expects the pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccinations to have an impact on the city’s vaccination rate, she said the impact would be reduced because there already had been a slowdown in delivery of the single-shot vaccine due to manufacturing problems. She also noted the Johnson & Johnson vaccine makes up a much smaller portion of the overall vaccine supply than the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
“We’re doubly committed with the Moderna and the Pfizer, and we’ll keep going just as quickly as we can with those,” she said.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Severe Storms, Including Risk Of Tornadoes And Large Hail, In Afternoon And Evening
Arwady has said the timing of the pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccines is unfortunate, particularly given that the state of Illinois on Monday expanded eligibility for the vaccine to everyone age 16 and older, and the city of Chicago is scheduled to follow suit next Monday.
“This is a hit, no doubt about it,” Arwady said.
The pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccines also comes as the city continues has seen new COVID-19 cases climbing for the past month.
The city’s test positivity rate stands at 5.7%, up from 5.1% one week ago, and Chicago is averaging 691 new COVID-19 cases per day over the past week, up 15% from one week ago, according to Arwady. The city also has seen small increases in hospitalizations and ICU admissions over the past month, but nowhere near the peak of the pandemic.
“So we’re keeping a close eye on this. We need everybody to continue to practice caution, but have been pleased to see some flattening of that case increase,” Arwady said.
While new cases in Chicago might not be increasing as quickly as they were two or three weeks ago, Arwady said the city is still in the “high risk” category, and the virus is still widespread in Chicago.MORE NEWS: Man Shot In River North Parking Garage
“I want to say broadly that no matter who you are, or where you are in Chicago, COVID is on the rise. We’re vaccinating people as quickly as we can, but in the meantime we need people practicing caution,” she said.