New COVID vaccine, Chicago’s top doctor provides update – NBC Chicago

Now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given its blessing to new “bivalent” COVID boosters, the vaccine, specifically targeting the highly contagious omicron subvariants, is on its way to Illinois and Chicago.

And that’s good news, says Chicago’s top doctor, for this winter and fall — a time of year that has historically seen an increase in respiratory viruses.

Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic in Illinois today:

Omicron-Specific Booster Essential For Avoiding Fall Surges, According To Chicago’s Top Physician

In each of the past two winters, COVID cases and hospitalizations have increased dramatically across the state of Illinois, and Chicago’s top doctor warns that while uptake of a new booster vaccine is slow, the city could potentially face a third straight year of surging cases.

Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, highlighted trends over the past two years when reviewing the city’s preparations for fall and winter, and she said changes in attenuation habits on the part of residents could potentially lead the way. set for another spike in cases later this year.

“Over the past two winters, we’ve had noticeable COVID surges during respiratory virus season,” she said. “We, too, as people, have relaxed against COVID, and there is less mask-wearing in general.”

This year, officials hope new mitigation measures and treatment options will help prevent a similar increase. The FDA and CDC have both authorized new COVID vaccine boosters that have been specifically formulated to fight omicron variants of the disease, and the wide availability of antivirals like Paxlovid has also given doctors hope that any increase of cases could potentially be reversed.

Learn more here.

CDC clears reformulated COVID plans targeting Omicron in time for school

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has authorized reformulated Covid injections that target the latest omicron subvariants for the fall, allowing many people to get an additional booster within days.

The agency’s independent committee on vaccines voted 13 to 1 earlier Thursday in favor of the vaccines after reviewing available data on safety and effectiveness during a nearly seven-hour meeting. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky approved the injections hours later, paving the way for pharmacies to begin administering the injections soon.

Pfizer’s omicron boosters were licensed for people aged 12 and older, while Moderna’s updated injections were licensed for people aged 18 and older. Eligible age groups can receive the boosters at least two months after completing their main streak or their most recent booster with old shots.

Learn more here.

What’s behind that sore throat? How to tell if it’s COVID, allergies, strep throat or more

Do you have a sore throat but don’t know what’s causing it?

There are several possibilities that could be behind the symptom, with things like COVID, allergies, and strep throat all leading to similar symptoms.

Currently, allergy season is peaking in the Chicago area, resulting in a flare-up of cold-like symptoms, with the peak expected to continue through late September for those particularly sensitive to ragweed.

Learn more here.

When will the new COVID reminders be available? One thing has yet to happen

On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration authorized new COVID booster shots designed to target the omicron variant and its dominant BA.5 subvariant, but before the shots can begin, there’s still one step to go.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must recommend who should receive the additional vaccine.

An influential CDC advisory panel will debate the evidence on Thursday — including whether people at high risk for COVID-19 should come first. The CDC is expected to make its recommendation after the panel gives its opinion.

Learn more here.

What makes the new COVID boosters different from previous injections? Experts explain

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized new COVID booster shots known as “bivalent” vaccines, what exactly does this mean and how are they different from previous COVID vaccines given earlier in the pandemic ?

Until now, COVID-19 vaccines have targeted the original coronavirus strain, although wildly different mutants have emerged. The new American boosters are combined or “bivalent” shots. They contain half the original vaccine recipe and half the protection against the latest versions of omicron, called BA.4 and BA.5, which are considered the most contagious to date.

Learn more here.

COVID’s incubation period has changed and Chicago’s top doctor says it’s ‘good news’

COVID’s incubation period has changed with the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants and that’s a good thing, Chicago’s top doctor says.

During her Facebook Live last week, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady reported that recent studies have shown the incubation period for COVID has dropped to three days with variants recent.

Learn more here.

NBC Chicago

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