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Illinois passes 2 million coronavirus vaccine doses administered

Illinois ranks fifth in the nation in total shots given. Still, only about 4% of residents have been fully vaccinated.

Jada Johnson holds her sleeve as Armando Ambriz, a medical assistant at Esperanza Health Centers, sanitizes her arm before administering a COVID-19 vaccine Friday at 6057 S. Western Ave. in the West Englewood neighborhood.
Jada Johnson holds her sleeve as Armando Ambriz, a medical assistant at Esperanza Health Centers, sanitizes her arm before administering a COVID-19 vaccine Friday at 6057 S. Western Ave. in the West Englewood neighborhood.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

More than 2 million Illinois residents have now been vaccinated against COVID-19, public health officials announced Friday.

The state passed that milestone in the long journey to end the coronavirus pandemic Thursday when 83,673 shots went into arms, the second highest one-day vaccination total yet, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“Every shot gets us closer to the other side of this pandemic,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker tweeted, touting CDC data that shows Illinois ranks fifth behind California, Texas, Florida and New York in total shots administered.

Still, from the 2,060,706 doses that have been doled out so far, only about 508,000 people have received both required shots — not even 4% of the population.

Despite Thursday’s impressive output, Illinois’ seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily fell to 59,640, the first time it’s dipped below 60,000 in a week.

Officials have blamed that on the heavy snow across the Midwest this week, which has slowed down vaccine shipments from the federal government and forced some vaccination sites to cancel appointments.

About 2.6 million doses have been shipped to the state since Dec. 15, and about 314,000 doses were on hand for local health departments and community administration sites headed into the weekend. Many of those are reserved for second doses, though.

Pritzker said Thursday he expects a quick rebound from the snowy slowdown, though, with Illinois slated to receive another 500,000 doses next week.

“We’ve seen increasing vaccine supply — nearly 30% more on a weekly basis to states — since President Biden took over,” Pritzker said.

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As the state’s vaccination tally now almost doubles the 1.2 million COVID-19 infections diagnosed throughout the pandemic, the virus is spreading as slowly as it has since early July, data suggests.

The latest 2,219 cases of the disease were detected among the latest 85,963 tests submitted to the Department of Public Health, which raised the average statewide positivity rate a tenth of a percent up to 2.8%.

Nightly coronavirus hospitalizations have fallen below 1,600 for the first time since Oct. 3, with 1,596 beds occupied as of Thursday.

But with another 63 deaths attributed to the virus, COVID-19 is still claiming an average of 46 lives per day. That’s down from a fatality rate of 79 per day in mid-January.

Twenty-four of the latest victims were from the Chicago area, including two men in their 30s from Cook and Kane counties.

Illinois’ coronavirus death toll has climbed to 20,192 since last March.