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10 millionth COVID-19 vaccine dose administered in Illinois: ‘It’s how we’ll all get back to our lives’

About 57% of residents 16 or older have gotten at least one shot, and about 36% are fully vaccinated.

Nurse Evelyn Aranda administers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to nurse Shahroze Ali in December.
Nurse Evelyn Aranda administers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to nurse Shahroze Ali, who works in the Intensive Care Unit at Mount Sinai Hospital, in December.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

Illinoisans have now rolled up their sleeves more than 10 million times for COVID-19 vaccinations, public health officials announced Tuesday.

The state hit its latest shot benchmark as 58,709 doses were administered Monday, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

A total of 10,037,624 shots have been doled out over the past five months, with about 57% of Illinois’ residents 16 or older receiving at least one shot, and about 36% now fully vaccinated. More than 80% of seniors have been covered.

Overall, that vaccination total averages out to about 48 shots given every minute since Illinois’ first dose was administered in mid-December.

But with vaccine demand slowing by about 37% compared to a month ago, and herd immunity a ways off, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is urging residents to keep signing up for shots.

“This is real progress,” Pritzker tweeted. “I invite everyone who has gotten protected from the virus to talk to their friends and family who haven’t yet. It’s how we’ll all get back to our lives.”

COVID-19 vaccine doses administered by day

Graphic by Jesse Howe and Caroline Hurley | Sun-Times

Source: Illinois Department of Public Health

Graph not displaying properly? Click here.

At an Urbana news conference, the governor said he “can understand why people choose to step back and wait a little while” to get vaccinated, but pointed to the fact that only a few cases of severe side effects have been reported nationwide.

“We want to do a good job of educating everybody, but I would just remind you that literally hundreds of millions of people around the world have been vaccinated,” Pritzker said. “I think you’ll find that it’s safe for those of us who’ve been vaccinated. It’s a lot more comfortable to be able to be outside in a small group of people, not wearing a mask. It’s a lot more comfortable to be able to go into a restaurant, and just know that you’re highly unlikely to get infected.”

Gov. J.B. Pritzker receives the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on March 24 in Springfield.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker receives the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on March 24 in Springfield.
Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP file

Fewer people are getting infected statewide as the percentage of those vaccinated increases. Officials reported 1,562 new cases were diagnosed among 46,334 tests, keeping the average statewide positivity rate at a seven-week low of 2.8%.

COVID-19 hospitalizations are down about 16% compared to last month, too, with 1,930 beds occupied as of Monday night.

But the virus claimed 26 more Illinois lives, including those of two Cook County residents in their 30s.

That daily death total is about average for the state so far in May, which has already seen 302 residents killed by the virus.

Illinois’ coronavirus death toll is up to 22,261, among roughly 1.4 million residents who have tested positive since March 2020.