Number of cases climbing again, additional deaths reported
As the number of active cases and hospitalizations continues to increase again across the entire state, on March 26 the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) authorized local health departments to begin vaccinating all residents age 16 and older at their immediate discretion.
This is weeks ahead of the original April 12 expansion date to include all residents age 16 and over statewide.
The decision to open up early was aimed at allowing health departments with low demand to use up the vaccine doses they currently have available, as well as try to stop a resurgence of the pandemic.
Residents should contact their local health department to see if it has expanded eligibility.
In Randolph County, Health Department Administrator Angela Oathout noted that they will be now offering the vaccine to those 18 and older.
She explained, “Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for under 18, and due to storage and handling requirements, we along with the hospitals are opting to wait. We are hopeful that a vaccine will be approved for pediatrics with less restrictions soon.”
For reference, at this time, the Pfizer vaccine is approved for ages 16 and up, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for ages 18 and up. In Randolph County, the majority of clinics have been using the Moderna vaccine.
For more COVID-19 updates, please see this week’s print edition.