Booster Shot Side Effects, CDC Holiday Guidance – NBC Chicago


As many who are now eligible begin getting their booster shots, and others prepare to soon become eligible, some are wondering which side effects, if any, they should expect with a third dose of the vaccines.

Plus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its recommendations for the upcoming holiday season.

Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:

Chicago Officials Expected to Release Halloween Guidance This Week

Chicago health officials are preparing to release guidance for celebrating Halloween this week.

The Chicago Department of Public Health told NBC Chicago Monday that the city “should have an updated Halloween guidance later this week.”

“CDPH does follow the CDC and recommend people cons​ult them if they have questions in the meantime,” the department said in a statement.

Read more here.

President Biden’s Trip to Chicago Now Set for This Week After Being Postponed

President Joe Biden’s expected trip to Chicago has been rescheduled for this week, according to the White House.

The president is set to arrive in the city Thursday, resuming his plans to tout vaccine mandates after the trip was postponed last week.

“The President will travel to the Chicago, Illinois area to highlight the importance of COVID-19 vaccine requirements,” the White House said in a release Monday.

Read more here.

CDC Releases Holiday Guidance for 2021

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released recommendations Saturday for the upcoming holiday season, including the idea of using a window fan to keep air at an indoor party as fresh as possible.

The CDC appears to be suggesting that circulating air indoors can ward off the airborne coronavirus, or at least reduce its chances of spreading during home gatherings.

“If celebrating indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible,” its holiday celebrations guidance states. “You can use a window fan in one of the open windows to blow air out of the window. This will pull fresh air in through the other open windows.”

That said, even if the worst of summer’s pandemic wave might have passed, the CDC would much rather Americans not gather indoors with loved ones or visitors this winter.

Read the full guidance here.

What Are the Side Effects, Risks of Pfizer’s COVID Booster Shot?

As more people become eligible for Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster shot, are there any side effects or risks associated with the next vaccine dose?

Among people who stand to benefit from a booster, there are few risks, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded.

Serious side effects from the first two Pfizer doses are exceedingly rare, including heart inflammation that sometimes occurs in younger men. Data from Israel, which has given nearly 3 million people — mostly 60 and older — a third Pfizer dose, has uncovered no red flags.

A small number of people have experienced a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine, like anaphylaxis, which would occur during the 15 to 30 minutes patients wait after the injection.

The CDC has noted that side effects with the third shot “were similar to that of the two-dose series.”

Read more here.

Chicago Pride Fest Draws Large Crowds Despite No Parade

Chicago’s Pride Parade was canceled this year because of the pandemic, but that didn’t stop thousands from turning out for Pride Fest and celebrating LGBTQ+ life, culture and community.

Crowds packed North Halsted Street Saturday for the second day of the three-day festival. Typically, Chicago’s Pride celebration consists of a full month of festivities and ends with the Pride Parade in June, according to the event’s website.

While the pandemic forced changes this year, people said they were happy to celebrate regardless.

Read more here.

COVID Vaccines Now Available at 5 Illinois Community-Based Testing Sites

The state of Illinois has started administering doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at five community-based testing sites throughout the state, health officials announced Friday.

Doses of all three vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson – are available between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays and Saturdays at sites in Arlington Heights, Aurora, Fairview Heights, Peoria and South Holland.

No appointments are needed, and all vaccines will be administered at no cost, according to a news release from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Details here.

Tiger Tests Positive For COVID-19 at Brookfield Zoo

An 11-year-old tiger has tested positive for COVID-19 at suburban Brookfield Zoo, officials announced Friday.

Malena, the Amur tiger, has been showing signs of “mild respiratory illness” late last week, according to the zoo, including lethargy, coughing and sneezing.

The zoo noted that similar symptoms have appeared in other cat species held at the zoo, which has led to additional testing by the veterinary staff. Final COVID test results for other animals will likely be available next week.

Read more here.

Coronavirus in Illinois: 18,735 New COVID Cases, 236 Deaths, 159K Vaccinations in the Past Week

Illinois health officials on Friday reported 18,735 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, along with 236 additional deaths and over 159,000 new vaccine doses administered.

In all, 1,630,864 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the state since the pandemic began, according to the latest data from the Illinois Department of Public Health. The additional deaths reported this week bring the state to 25,017 confirmed COVID fatalities.

Read more here.

Merck Says Experimental Pill Was Effective in Trial at Treating COVID-19

Merck & Co. said Friday that its experimental COVID-19 pill reduced hospitalizations and deaths by half in people recently infected with the coronavirus and that it would soon ask health officials in the U.S. and around the world to authorize its use.

If cleared, Merck’s drug would be the first pill shown to treat COVID-19, a potentially major advance in efforts to fight the pandemic. All COVID-19 therapies now authorized in the U.S. require an IV or injection.

Read more here.

Rich Township High School Moves to Remote Learning Due to COVID Cases

A suburban high school will transition to remote learning for two weeks after at least two cases of COVID-19 were reported.

According to officials at Rich Township High School, in-person instruction will be suspended from Friday through Thursday, Oct. 14. Students will not have classes on Friday, and will resume remote learning on Monday, according to a letter sent to parents.

The earliest that the school will allow students to resume in-person learning will be Monday, Oct. 18, as Oct. 15 is a parent-teacher conference day, according to the letter.

The latest updates here.

Mother of CPS Elementary Student Dies of COVID Complications: Medical Examiner

The mother of a Chicago Public Schools’ student who recently passed away died from pneumonia caused by COVID-19, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed Thursday, days after parents and teachers voiced concerns about district safety measures following her death.

Shenitha Curry’s cause of death was ruled as pneumonia due to COVID-19 infection with diabetes and hypertension as contributing factors.

Curry, 44, was one of two Jensen Elementary parents who were believed to have died from complications related to COVID-19.

Read more here.

Moderna Booster Shot: What to Know as FDA Evaluates Potential for Half Dose

So far, most Americans who received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine can’t get booster shots, but could that soon be changing?

Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, reported this week that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was leaning toward authorizing half-dose booster shots for those who received Moderna’s two-shot mRNA vaccine.

That would mark the second COVID-19 vaccine to get authorization from the FDA for booster doses.

Here’s what we know so far.

Pregnant Women and COVID Vaccine: What to Know as CDC Issues Urgent Alert

As the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issues its strongest guidance to date urging pregnant women to be vaccinated against COVID-19, what should those who are pregnant or planning to be pregnant know about the vaccines available?

Here’s the latest guidance from health officials, doctors and other experts surrounding pregnancy and the COVID vaccines.

Deadline for City Workers to Get COVID Vaccine for Chicago’s Mandate Approaches

The deadline for city workers to comply with Chicago’s vaccine mandate is fast approaching.

The city’s vaccine policy will take effect on Oct. 15 and requires all city employees and volunteers to be fully vaccinated by that date.

“Fully vaccinated” is defined as two weeks past the second dose of a two-dose mRNA vaccine or two weeks past a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, meaning workers will need to get their shots by the end of this week to comply. Employees will need to submit proof of vaccination through an online COVID-19 Vaccine Portal. 

Employees can apply for medical or religious exemptions, but such requests will be reviewed by the Department of Human Resources on a case-by-case basis, the city said.

Chicago announced the vaccine mandate in August, stating all city employees will be required to get vaccinated.

“The data shows that getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and those you come in contact with from serious illness, hospitalization, or death from COVID-19,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement at the time. “Adopting and implementing this requirement is the responsible, common-sense approach, which is why we’re seeing so many other government agencies, companies, institutions, and organizations pursue this course of action.” 

More Fake COVID Vaccination Cards Seized by Chicago Officials

Over 40 counterfeit coronavirus vaccination cards were seized Monday by Chicago officials at O’Hare International Airport for the second time this September.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the International Mail Facility found fake COVID vaccine cards from two packages, originally coming from China, officials said.

According to a release, the packages were labeled that they held greeting cards, but inside were 21 counterfeit COVID vaccination cards in one parcel and 20 fake cards in the other.

Read more here.

Where You Can Get a Booster Shot of the COVID Vaccine in Illinois

COVID vaccine booster shots are now available for millions of eligible residents, but where can you get them?

The CDC last week endorsed booster shots for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said Friday it is adopting the CDC’s recommendations for eligible people to receive a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Illinois.

“While the vaccines continue to be highly effective at preventing severe illnesses, hospitalization, death, as we learn more about COVID-19 and the science evolves, so too must our recommendations,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike in a statement.

The department said it “recommends vaccine providers prioritize those at highest risk of severe illness among the eligible booster population.”

See a list of places where eligible people can get booster shots.

Vaccine Events in Chicago Today

  • Intrinsic Schools – Downtown Campus: 5:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • CDPH Greater Lawn Immunization Clinic: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • CDPH Uptown Immunization Clinic: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Flu & COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Park District: 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Commissioner Bill Lowry’s Men’s Health Fair: 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

United Airlines Moves to Fire Employees Who Didn’t Comply With COVID Vaccine Mandate

According to a memo sent to employees Tuesday, Chicago-based United Airlines will soon begin the process of terminating nearly 600 employees who refused the company’s coronavirus vaccine requirement.

The memo, sent out by United CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart, says that more than 99% of the company’s employees were either fully vaccinated or received a religious or medical accommodation.

While the deadline for requesting those extensions has been extended, the company will move to terminate a total of 593 employees, according to a spokesperson.

Read more here.

Chicago Moves to ‘Lower Transmission’ for COVID Risk. Here’s What That Means for Masks

As Chicago moves down from “high transmission” for COVID-19 risk, the city’s top doctor says health officials are in discussion with the state regarding Illinois’ mask mandate.

As of Tuesday, Chicago Department of Public Health data showed an average daily coronavirus case count of 369, which puts the city at “substantial transmission” down from “high transmission.”

CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady noted that the city’s test positivity rate, hospital capacity and ICU capacity have all dropped to “lower transmission,” as well.

What does this mean for masks?

Read more here.

COVID Vaccine and Kids: The Latest on Timing as Pfizer Submits Trial Data

Now that Pfizer has submitted initial trial data to the Food and Drug Administration for use of its COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11, what will that mean for parents?

The move is a key step toward beginning vaccinations for youngsters, but authorization for COVID vaccines in kids under 12 is likely still weeks away.

Here’s the latest on timing.

COVID Booster Shots: What Illinois Residents Should Know as Extra Doses Begin

COVID vaccine booster shots are now available for millions of eligible residents, but what should Illinois residents know as they prepare for their next shot?

The CDC last week endorsed booster shots for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on a series of recommendations from a panel of advisers late Thursday. However, Walensky decided to make one recommendation that the panel had rejected.

Here’s what we know so far.

Can Kids Get Flu, COVID Shots at Same Time? Pediatricians, CDC Say Yes

With flu season nearing, doctors are encouraging individuals to get the flu shot, and are informing parents that it is safe to get both the flu and COVID vaccines at the same time.

Currently, children age 12 and older are permitted to get the Pfizer COVID vaccine under terms of the FDA’s emergency use authorization for the treatment. Experts anticipate that the vaccine will soon be approved for children between the ages of 5 and 11.

Early in the pandemic, the CDC had recommended spacing out vaccinations, but has announced that further research indicates that getting both the COVID and flu shots at the same time is safe and effective in preventing both illnesses.

Read more here.

Moderna vs. Pfizer: Is One Vaccine Stronger Against Delta Variant?

With many now able to choose which COVID vaccine they receive, questions surrounding which offers better protection against the now-surging delta variant have spiked.

Several studies have been conducted to determine vaccine effectiveness, but is one vaccine actually better than the others?

According to medical experts, the three vaccines currently available in the U.S. each offer protection.

Here’s a breakdown of what we know so far about each vaccine.



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