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Illinois rolls out updated COVID-19 vaccine

A new COVID-19 vaccine explicitly designed to target the omicron subvariants is rolling out in Illinois.

Illinois will have 580,000 doses to distribute across the state. That’s on top of the 150,000 doses for Chicago.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and city health officials announced that vaccinated residents would be eligible for a new booster shot.

The vaccine will be available for those over 12 after federal approval.

The new vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are called bivalent boosters. The shot will fight against the coronavirus and any new subvariant.

Lightfoot announced the rollout on Tuesday, August 6.

“Today, we are taking a new step to ensure every resident can continue to be protected against COVID-19 and all of its subvariants,” Lightfoot said. “This updated vaccine is critical to our ongoing fight against this pandemic and will help to keep our residents and their communities as healthy as possible.”

The announcement comes after the vaccines received federal approval, Lightfoot said.

“This announcement is in alignment with the final recommendation of the [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and the emergency use authorization from the [Food and Drug Administration],” Lightfoot said. “This will help further protect the health and well-being of our residents.”

Chicago currently has a “medium” rating for local risk based on CDC guidelines, with just 134 cases per 100,000 people.

The Illinois Department of Public Health last week said CDC numbers indicate 30 Illinois counties are now rated at High Community Level for COVID-19 with an additional 60 counties now rated at Medium Community Level.

Chicago Public Health Department Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said this rollout of the updated vaccine could be the best option for fighting the new strain of the virus.

“Getting this vaccine that is a perfect match is your best chance to not only protect yourself but to protect your family and your community long-term against severe outcomes,” Arwady said. “But also hopefully, to help us get ahead of the COVID virus.”

The CDC recently announced that those in close contact with COVID-19 would no longer have to quarantine.

This article originally appeared on The Center Square.

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