Dr. Allison Arwady on Chicago’s Declining Virus Cases, Vaccination Rates

Vaccine rollout resumes at Loretto Hospital on West Side

The single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is back in circulation in Chicago after it was paused due to the occurrence of rare blood clots in some recipients.

The move comes as COVID-19 cases in Illinois and Chicago are declining after the most recent surge.

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But across the state and country, vaccine administration rates are also falling. Will that slow the country’s goals to reach herd immunity?

During an interview Monday on “Chicago Tonight,” Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, expressed confidence in Chicago’s efforts to continue distributing vaccines and said she’s “excited to have a third vaccine back.” 

“Our top goal is to make sure people have options. We’ve been careful to label on zocdoc.com/vaccine which kind of vaccine we’re using at city of Chicago sites. Over the weekend, we started using (J&J) for example at one of our walk-in sites … and we saw people come looking for it,” Arwady said.

Those vaccination sites include the United Center, which started accepting walk-ins last week. Arwady said the development is a major turning point in the city’s fight against COVID-19.

“We have enough vaccine for anybody who wants a vaccine in Chicago,” she said. “All city of Chicago sites are taking walk-ins … and if you have the idea, ‘Now is my chance to get a vaccine,’ see if you can bring someone along with you and take that opportunity.”

As of Monday, just over 28% of Chicagoans are fully vaccinated, according to Illinois state data. The city is administering about 25,000 shots a day.

And after vaccinations were suspended last month at Loretto Hospital, shots are once again being administered at the West Side hospital, where the Chicago Department of Public Health is now overseeing their administration.

The city stepped in after numerous news reports by Block Club Chicago and others found Loretto had hosted off-site vaccination events earlier this year for people not yet eligible to receive their shots.

READ: Embattled Loretto Hospital Executive Resigns Amid Vaccine Scandal

“We are still on site, there are folks from CDPH who are there every day, and we’ve been working to make sure the registrations are appropriate, really working to make sure the team is fully trained,” Arwady said. “Loretto serves an important role in that community, and we want to rebuild some of that trust … so we’re pleased to be playing a role in getting that trust rebuilt.” 

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