Average of shots in arms falls below 100,000 as demand tapers off
Illinois' seven-day average of administered COVID-19 vaccine shots fell below 100,000, the lowest level in a month, state public health officials reported Thursday.
On Wednesday, 107,689 COVID-19 shots were administered, but the seven-day average for vaccinations is 97,434, officials said. Vaccination seven-day averages hit a peak of more than 132,000 April 11 through 13 and have declined since. The last time the tally dipped under 100,000 was on March 26 with 99,936 shots.
The shift has various causes: breaking through a demand bottleneck when supplies were low, the 10-day pause of Johnson & Johnson's one-dose vaccines to examine side effects, and vaccine skepticism, experts said.
"The public health community knew we would reach the point where we vaccinated those who had every intention of being vaccinated, and we know there is still hesitancy among others to get the COVID-19 vaccine," said Iliana Mora, Cook County Health's chief operating officer for ambulatory services.
"J&J being offline" was the first factor the Chicago Medical Society's Dr. Vishnu Chun gave at a Cook County Public Health Department event Thursday.
"The second and what I think is the really hard aspect of it is hesitancy -- and much more than hesitancy," Chun said. "It's just people want the easiest way to get vaccines. People want to be able to go for a regular checkup and get a vaccine."
"Now we have to change hearts and minds," Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha said.
The federal government has delivered 11,546,345 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December, and 9,155,989 shots have been administered.
So far, 3,966,970 people -- 31.1% of Illinois' 12.7 million population -- have been fully vaccinated. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses several weeks apart.
Illinois hospitals were treating 2,115 COVID-19 patients Wednesday night.
The state's positivity rate for COVID-19 cases is 3.5% based on a seven-day average.
State officials on Thursday announced 3,394 new cases in the previous 24 hours and 38 deaths, 21 of them in Chicago and the suburban counties.
Total cases statewide stand at 1,331,848 and 21,927 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.
Labs processed 89,057 virus tests in the last 24 hours.