* It was good to see an Illinoisan with such courage highlighted yesterday…
Bonnie Blue, one of the first participants in the Moderna vaccine trial at the University of Illinois Chicago, spoke about her experience Tuesday, saying she took a “huge risk” in doing the trial.
Blue, who joined Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker in his daily coronavirus update, is a 68-year-old former Senior Case Manager in the HIV program at Provident Hospital of Cook County with asthma who said her “body is fragile.”
She chose to take part in the trial despite objections from loved ones due to being so at-risk.
“For a person that has been on life support so many times, for me to take part in this trial was a huge risk, a risk my family and friends weren’t happy I was taking, but I’m here,” she said.
* Alton Telegraph…
Blue has asthma, and noted she was on life support 13 times over her life.
She added that it was important for those on life support to have friends and relatives with them to “hold their hand,” but with COVID that is not possible.
Originally, Blue said she would “wait a year or two” before trying it before becoming a trial participant, and noted that because of her medical history it could have been a “huge risk” and her family did not like it.
“My body is fragile, that’s what I’ve been told by the doctors, but I do what I have to do,” she said. “Please do what you have to do to stay safe. When the vaccines become available, please take it.”
* From Capitol News Illinois…
Although the state of Illinois is having its own independent team review the data, Pritzker said the vaccine appears to be effective in 95 percent of the people who receive it, and in 94 percent of people over age 65.
“Illinois will only distribute a vaccine that is deemed safe, and we are one of many states that have established additional review panels, including Indiana, California, New York, West Virginia and Michigan,” Pritzker said. “Our Illinois team is already poring over the analysis released by the FDA on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this morning.”
An FDA review committee is scheduled to meet Thursday to decide whether to grant the companies Emergency Use Authorization to release the vaccine. If that happens, Pritzker said, the first shipment could arrive in Illinois next week.
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said her agency is working with organizations across the state to make the virus as accessible as possible once the state has enough doses to immunize anyone who wants it. That includes plans in the works for drive-thru vaccination clinics, she said.
As state and local officials prepare for the vaccine’s arrival, Illinois continues to see some positive trends in its fight against the pandemic compared with the past month, when cases, hospitalizations and deaths were rising rapidly, though officials still are bracing for a possible post-Thanksgiving spike.
Front-line health care workers and nursing home residents are scheduled to be offered the vaccine first, followed by others at higher risk of COVID-19-related medical complications. For now, it’s likely that only people 18 and older will be offered vaccine because the vaccine hasn’t been tested on children yet, Ezike said.
“Without vaccination, this pandemic will extend longer than it needs to,” she said. “Let’s fight back and let’s do what it takes to get us to the end sooner.”
She added it will take months to roll out the vaccine to priority groups and even longer for the general public because of limited supplies in the U.S. “I ask that people be patient. We can only allocate the vaccine that we’re actually given, so we’re prioritizing those at greatest risk of exposure and severe illness. We are hoping for everyone to get this vaccine in the coming year.”
* Daily Herald…
The state’s seven-day average infection rate now stands at 9.9%, the first time it has dipped below 10% since Nov. 6.
Nov. 6 was also the first day the state started including the results of “rapid-result” antigen tests in the state’s daily case counts, which caused a noticeable spike in the infection rate.
The seven-day average infection rate, also referred to as a case positivity rate, is the percentage of new cases each day among the number of test results. It is a metric health officials use to determine when to enact or lift mitigation restrictions on businesses and gatherings.
In the suburbs Tuesday, many counties saw the seven-day average infection rates shrink or stay the same. Will County reported an infection rate below 14% for the first time since Nov. 5. The only county that didn’t see a decrease in the infection rate was Kane County, which climbed from Monday’s rate of 13.9% to 14.3% Tuesday.