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COVID-19 vaccinations now outnumber confirmed Illinois cases 5 to 1

Still, with under 41% of the state population fully vaccinated and shot demand dropping precipitously, officials say a lot more work needs to be done to bring the pandemic to a close.

A person prepares to receive the COVID-19 vaccine inside a mobile clinic in the East Ukrainian Village neighborhood earlier this month. About 41% of Illinois residents are fully immunized.
A person prepares to receive the COVID-19 vaccine inside a mobile clinic in the East Ukrainian Village neighborhood earlier this month. About 41% of Illinois residents are fully immunized.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Almost five times as many Illinois residents have now been vaccinated against COVID-19 as have tested positive for it since the pandemic began.

Almost 6.9 million people have received at least one dose across the state, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared to about 1.4 million people who have been confirmed infected with the coronavirus over the last 14 months.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday reported 62,274 more shots went into arms, while just 982 new cases were diagnosed.

With an all-time low positivity rate of 1.9%, the state is now as close as it’s ever been to bringing the pandemic under control, largely thanks to the fact that an average of more than 68,000 doses have been administered daily since mid-December.

Only about 3,150 new cases were detected per day over the same period. That’s a ratio of about 22 shots for every new COVID-19 case since Illinois’ first dose was administered.

Still, with under 41% of the state population fully vaccinated and shot demand dropping precipitously, a lot more sleeves remain to be rolled up before Illinois approaches anything close to herd immunity.

The state has averaged 58,378 vaccinations per day over the last week, compared to a rate of almost 108,000 in late April.

As a result, officials are shifting their strategy from large-scale vaccination clinics down to hyperlocal efforts for those who have had limited access to care or who still have reservations about getting a shot.

“It is critical that we continue to meet people where they are, either geographically or psychologically, to get them vaccinated,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said in a statement Thursday, when three mass vax sites under her watch were shut down. “This means going into neighborhoods and working with community-based organizations to ensure that everyone has access to the vaccine and that we can address the issues that cause people to be hesitant.”

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.

Meanwhile, the virus is still ravaging communities statewide, especially in neighborhoods with lower vaccination rates. The state reported 21 more deaths, including a Cook County teen. Illinois’ death toll is up to 22,379.

The Chicago Department of Public Health is hosting vaccination events Saturday at five high schools on the South and West sides: Fenger, 11220 S. Wallace St.; Englewood STEM, 6835 S. Normal Blvd.; King, 4445 S. Drexel Blvd.; Carver Military Academy, 13100 S. Doty Ave.; and Clark, 5101 W. Harrison St.

The city is offering free Six Flags tickets to vaccine recipients at city-run sites this weekend. They’ll also bring doses directly to the doorstep of any resident 65 or older who requests it, as well as those with disabilities or underlying medical conditions.

For help finding a city appointment, visit zocdoc.com or call (312) 746-4835.

For suburban Cook County sites, visit vaccine.cookcountyil.gov or call (833) 308-1988.

To find providers elsewhere, visit coronavirus.illinois.gov or call (833) 621-1284.