Approximately 150,000 doses of the updated COVID-19 vaccine are available in Chicago, and the new booster is a “perfect match” for the omicron subvariants sickening Chicago residents, Chicago officials announced Tuesday.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady urged all Chicagoans older than 12 who were vaccinated against COVID-19 with the original vaccine at least two months ago to get the updated vaccine, which targets the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the omicron variant of COVID-19.
More than 99% of all COVID-19 infections in Chicago are caused by the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the omicron variant, Arwady said.
“This is a big deal,” Arwady said at a City Hall news conference. “This gives us a chance to get ahead of the virus.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she and her wife and daughter would get the updated vaccine.
The updated vaccine — also known as the bivalent booster — will be available at pharmacies throughout the city, and city officials will hold a series of events to vaccinate as many people as possible. More information is available at vaccines.gov or by calling the city’s COVID-19 call center at 312-746-4835.
The updated vaccine contains half that original vaccine recipe and half designed to offer protection against the widespread omicron versions that are considered the most contagious version of the virus yet, officials said.
The vaccine is a “perfect match” for the version of COVID-19 that is making people sick, Arwady said.
Those who have recently been infected with COVID-19 can get the new vaccine as soon as they have completed their isolation period and are no longer contagious, or wait three months, Arwady said.
People 65 and older should get the new booster as soon as possible, Arwady said.
The new vaccine was fully tested and met all standards for safety effectiveness, Arwady said.