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*** UPDATED x1 - 50,000 free Six Flags tickets offered *** Vaccine roundup

Thursday, May 13, 2021

* SJ-R

The state of Illinois will open up vaccinations to 12-15 year olds Thursday, following approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to distribute the Pfizer vaccine to that age group.

Vaccination sites across Illinois can begin providing the vaccine to the adolescents with sign up commencing Wednesday afternoon. Memorial Health System and CVS also announced Wednesday that they would begin distribution at their sites Thursday, with appointments and walk-ins accepted.

* New York Times

According to a new U.S. census estimate, some 30 million American adults who are open to getting a coronavirus vaccine have not managed to actually do so. Their ranks are larger than the hesitant — more than the 28 million who said they would probably or definitely not get vaccinated, and than the 16 million who said they were unsure. And this month, as the Biden administration set a goal of 70 percent of adults getting at least one dose by July 4, they became an official new focus of the nation’s mass vaccination campaign.

In addition to “the doubters,” President Biden said at a news briefing last week, the mission is to get the vaccine to those who are “just not sure how to get to where they want to go.”

If the attention has centered on the vaccine hesitant, these are the vaccine amenable. In interviews, their stated reasons for not getting vaccines are disparate, complex and sometimes shifting.

They are, for the most part, America’s working class, contending with jobs and family obligations that make for scarce discretionary time. About half of them live in households with incomes of less than $50,000 a year; another 30 percent have annual household incomes between $50,000 and $100,000, according to an analysis of the census data by Justin Feldman, a social epidemiologist at Harvard. Eighty-one percent do not have a college degree. Some have health issues or disabilities or face language barriers that can make getting inoculated against Covid-19 seem daunting. Others do not have a regular doctor, and some are socially isolated.

Technically, they have access to the vaccine. Practically, it is not that simple.

* Crain’s

Northwestern University is another local college to require students to be vaccinated before returning to campus this fall.

“As confidence increases in the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine and the supply has met the demand in Illinois, Northwestern will require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the 2021-22 academic year,” the school said. “COVID-19 vaccines are the most important tool to help end the pandemic, and requiring students to be vaccinated will best support the health of our community and position us for in-person classroom and co-curricular activities for the fall term.” […]

NU is not currently requiring vaccination for faculty and staff. “We have not yet made a decision on whether to require faculty and staff to be vaccinated. We are continuing to evaluate the situation,” a spokesman said in an email.

* ABC 7

An I-Team analysis of IDPH data since vaccine demand peaked statewide in mid- April reveals in the southern region of Illinois, the seven-day average of vaccines administered is down 60%. For the Northwest regions, demand has dipped 54%. In the suburban regions, including Cook County, there’s a decrease of 46%. Chicago has seen a 48% drop over the same period.

* I received a lot of texts about this yesterday

Officials across the United States are looking for unique solutions to overcome coronavirus vaccine hesitancy, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine upped the ante in a big way.

In a series of social media posts Wednesday, DeWine announced that the state of Ohio will randomly select five residents who have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and those residents will receive a prize of $1 million.

The drawings will begin on May 26, and will occur on each successive Wednesday for five consecutive weeks, DeWine says:

*** UPDATE *** Press release…

Following yesterday’s expansion of vaccine eligibility to 12- to 15-year-olds, Governor JB Pritzker announced that Six Flags Great America – the Thrill Capital of the Midwest – will offer 50,000 free tickets to their parks in Gurnee and Rockford to newly vaccinated Illinois residents.

The value of the donated tickets is $4 million.

“Throughout the pandemic, Six Flags has been All In for Illinois, putting the health of workers and visitors first,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I know it’s been a difficult year – but that just makes it all the more exciting to be back at the park. Thanks to the life-saving power of vaccinations, it feels once again like summer’s in the air.”

“Six Flags Great America is proud to support the state of Illinois vaccination efforts, especially in underrepresented communities,” said Six Flags Great America Park President Hank Salemi. “We’re getting back to the thrills and want to do our part to encourage residents to get vaccinated.”

Health experts agree that getting vaccinated is how we’ll all get back to the things we’ve missed during the pandemic, including thrilling rollercoasters, waterparks and live entertainment.

To make sure the tickets have broad reach, the state is sending Illinois National Guard mobile vaccination teams to their Gurnee location starting the first weekend in June: Saturday the 5th and Sunday the 6th. If turnout is high, vaccination teams will return to continue offering this lifesaving protection to residents. Six Flags Great America will announce additional details in the coming weeks.

In addition, a significant portion of the tickets will be distributed through local health departments to use in the way that will best work in their community. Specific initiatives will be rolled out by the departments of public health in the city of Chicago, Cook County and the Collar Counties — including equity mobile missions in neighborhoods with lower vaccination rates, school-based clinics, full-family vaccination initiatives and mass vaccination clinics. More information will become available on a county-by-county basis.

Finally, to focus on underserved youth and their families, the Vaccine Corps Partnership incubated at Michael Reese Health Trust will deploy the tickets as a part of their hyper-local vaccine education campaign. The organization works with community-led organizations to build trust in the vaccine, primarily in the city of Chicago and Cook County. Learn more about the partnership on their website.

The latest vaccine incentive announcement comes on the heels of the federal authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds, which young people can get on its own or along with other routine vaccinations. Residents are encouraged to use the CDC’s vaccine finder tool at to see which locations have vaccine available and to filter by manufacturer.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Pundent - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 7:16 am:

    Shots are available for 12-15 year olds today. Grabbed an appointment at the end of the school day. Kudos to the pharmacies and others for pivoting in a matter of hours to make this happen. Get your shots, get back your life.

  2. - Cheap Seats - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 7:45 am:

    On a whim I checked a local CVS yesterday around 5pm….my 14yo had a shot in her arm by 6.

  3. - DuPage Teacher - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 7:52 am:

    Got my 12 and 14 year-olds their appointments for Tuesday afternoon. It would be nice if they could get their shots right at their middle school but I understand the logistical challenges. I’m grateful we have a “mass vax” site in town.

  4. - Dysfunction Junction - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 8:16 am:

    Signed my 14 year old up this morning for shots at the state fairgrounds. Every spot was available when I registered.

  5. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 8:18 am:

    Northwestern wants to require students to have vaccine but faculty will not be required? Makes perfect sense
    I know Northwestern is private although I am sure it receives some federal money but I thought since drug is still classified as experimental it can not be required. It is not like polio or measles vaccine

  6. - Steve Rogers - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 8:33 am:

    @Dysfunction: No need to sign up at the Fairgrounds anymore. It’s no appointment walk-ins now. My 16 and 17 yr old kids got their second shots yesterday there. No appointment. No waiting. It’s awesome.

  7. - 47th Ward - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 8:34 am:

    Ohio might have the most cost effective method to encourage vaccinations. $5 million will be a bargain if they are able to persuade enough people to get vaccinated to join in the lottery. Wish Illinois did that.

  8. - Cool Papa Bell - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 9:05 am:

    13 year old going on Monday. Couldn’t be happier.

    If only my soon to be 11 year old was my soon to be 12 year old…

  9. - Stu - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 9:24 am:

    Since the vax-hesitant obviously don’t understand statistics & probability, offering a $1 million lottery sounds like a great idea.

  10. - Joe Bidenopolous - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 9:31 am:

    That DeWine move is savvy. I’ve seen a lot of vaccination incentive programs implemented in other states and I’m really disappointed nothing creative like that has been done here.

  11. - cermak_rd - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 9:37 am:

    I’ve been beating the drum for a while about needing to get it to those willing but less able to go get it. My burb of Berwyn recently announced they would hold some shots. At first I was like, but the supercenter over in Forest Park is a stone’s throw from here, but then there is no reliable, convenient bus to get there, plus people are hesitant to use mass transit, the announcement went out as all do here in both languages usually spoken (Eng & Span) and it’s being held in middle schools fairly convenient to get to. All in all I’m hopeful the May 8 got some (I didn’t see any numbers available) and the May 15 event succeeds.

    Unfortunately it’s being held during the day. I would like to see some all night sights available for folks who work during the day.

  12. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 9:39 am:

    Door prizes and a chance at millions to persuade people to get a free shot that will protect themselves, their loved ones, and society as well.

    The future is so bright.

  13. - Dadd - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 9:56 am:

    My 12 year old gets hers today after school. Driving is nice, but it’s time for us to fly!
    If the Ohio stunt works, it might be worth trying here.

  14. - bogey golfer - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 10:18 am:

    Wondering if IHSA would require high school athletes be vaccinated before fall practice begins.

  15. - EssentialStateEmployeeFromChatham - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 10:20 am:

    Could we eventually see a vaccination requirement for all State Employees? (For the record, I am fully vaccinated and I would not mind seeing a vaccination requirement, as I’ve been back in the office in person for almost a year now).

  16. - Nathan - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 10:28 am:

    I may be wrong, but I believe since all the COVID vaccines are being approved under “emergency use,” places can’t require them. Who knows how long regular approval will take.

  17. - Excitable Boy - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 10:32 am:

    - places can’t require them -

    Not true, they absolutely can.

  18. - Sayitaintso - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 10:33 am:

    I’d guess $100,000 would have had the same draw.

  19. - Chicago Blue - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 10:40 am:

    I love the OH lottery plan. Among R governors in larger states, he may have been the most reasonable and effective in dealing with the pandemic.

  20. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 10:43 am:

    Since the vaccine is still rated experimental and for emergency use I believe federal law says it can not be made mandatory like polio and measles vaccine. Maybe a private business could require it but certainly not government employment

  21. - Steve Rogers - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 10:47 am:

    I’m going to be the naysayer to the dumb Ohio lottery idea. I think it’s rewarding people who are actively opposing vaccinations. This is a worldwide serious pandemic, and turning a societal duty toward herd immunity into a game just seems idiotic to me.

  22. - jimbo - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 10:56 am:

    ~~rewarding people who are actively opposing vaccinations~~

    I’d agree if it were only for people going forward, but it’s for anyone- even if they were an MD who went on day 1.

    There are many who kinda want it, but it’s not easy. My cousin doesn’t know her work schedule but a day ahead, can’t take time off if she has side effects etc etc.

    *If* it works and reopens more of the state, it’d be money well spent

  23. - JS Mill - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 11:20 am:

    =Wondering if IHSA would require high school athletes be vaccinated before fall practice begins.=

    Only if the winds of popularity start to blow that way. The IHSA is not a brave, forward thinking, or intelligent group.

    They should, if there bloviating about student safety was real, but they won’t.

  24. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 12:58 pm:

    ==Since the vaccine is still rated experimental and for emergency use I believe federal law says it can not be made mandatory==

    They are not “rated experimental” the vaccines have received “Emergency Use Authorization” which requires supporting investigation and documentation very similar to that for full authorization.

    Regarding the legal questions, this is from the American College Health Association: “Although opinions differ, many legal experts have stated that EUA status does not preclude an institutional vaccination requirement.”

    The entire ACHA recommendation is here:

    It is important to note that, depending on the vaccine, a requirement would call for up to 6 weeks of lead time for someone to be considered fully vaccinated.

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