22% of kids 5-11 have gotten a COVID-19 shot. Vaccines for 4 and younger? 'Closer to springtime'
The number of Illinois kids ages 5 to 11 with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine has nearly doubled since Thanksgiving, Illinois Department of Public Health data showed Friday.
A total of 367,907 children 5-11 have received shots, or about 22.3% of those eligible, compared to 186,569 on Nov. 25.
Lake County recorded the second highest rate statewide for eligible children getting at least one dose of Pfizer's two-dose vaccines with 33%, just behind Champaign County. DuPage County registered 32.9%, suburban Cook County 25.6%, McHenry and Will counties in the 20% range, and Kane County at 19%.
Seven downstate counties are below 2% -- Alexander, Edwards, Hancock, Hardin, Henderson, Pope and Scott, according to the IDPH.
The data comes as the number of Illinoisans age 19 and younger diagnosed with COVID-19 is at 19.6% of all cases statewide, or 369,134 infections.
Pfizer's vaccine is the only one authorized for children ages 5 to 11 as of Nov. 2.
When will vaccines be approved for ages 6 months through 4 years?
"It's coming, but it's probably going to be closer to springtime or so for under age 5," said Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital Medical Director Michael Bauer, a pediatrician. "Anything sooner than that would be a really pleasant surprise, but I think realistically it's going to be closer to spring."
Trials are ongoing for the youngest demographic and "getting younger children enrolled in studies takes a longer amount of time than it does for adolescent and adults," Bauer said. Researchers are also collecting data to ensure there's no interference between COVID-19 shots and the multiple other vaccines babies, toddlers and preschoolers receive.
"We don't believe that will be the issue, but it still needs to be studied," he said. Trials involve two different age groups from 6 months through 2, and from 2 through 4, although it's unclear if just the oldest cohort would be authorized next, or both.
The number of patients in the hospital with COVID-19 came to 3,257 as of Thursday night, the highest number since Jan. 20. Out of 31,781 total beds in Illinois, 22,661 had non-COVID-19 patients and 5,863 were open.
The seven-day average of hospitalizations was 2,975.6, a 26% increase contrasted with the 2,362.1 average Dec. 2 to Nov. 26.
New cases of COVID-19 totaled 7,531 Friday with 35 more people dying from the respiratory disease, the IDPH reported.
On Thursday, 80,490 more COVID-19 shots were administered. The seven-day average is 72,775.
The state's positivity rate for COVID-19 cases is 4.3% based on a seven-day average.
So far, 7,537,632 Illinoisans have been fully vaccinated, or nearly 59.2% of the state's 12.7 million population.
The federal government has delivered 20,653,845 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began last December, and 18,007,906 shots have been administered.
Total cases statewide stand at 1,884,744 and 26,801 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.
Labs processed 189,462 virus tests in the last 24 hours.