Lake, DuPage lead state in COVID-19 vaccination rates for kids 12-17

  • A 17-year-old gets a COVID-19 shot in April at the Sports Hub in Glendale Heights.

    A 17-year-old gets a COVID-19 shot in April at the Sports Hub in Glendale Heights. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Illinois hospitals were treating 2,240 COVID-19 patients Thursday night.

    Illinois hospitals were treating 2,240 COVID-19 patients Thursday night. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 8/27/2021 8:51 PM

With most suburban schools in full swing amid a spike in COVID-19 infections, state data Friday showed that less than half of young Illinoisans ages 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated.

That's 445,585 tweens and teenagers, or nearly 45%, who are fully inoculated out of 993,238 eligible for Pfizer/BioNTech's two-dose vaccine, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

 

In comparison, about 62% of all Illinoisans eligible for shots are fully vaccinated. Pfizer's vaccine was not authorized for use in children ages 12 to 15 until May 10.

The latest numbers come as COVID-19 caseloads, hospitalizations and deaths rose steadily in August. New cases reached 4,942 Friday, the highest for a day since January.

Hospitalizations have spiked by 36% in two weeks. This week's daily average of COVID-19 patients statewide was 2,169, compared to 1,592 a day from Aug. 8 to 14.

Lake County leads the state in inoculation rates for the 12-17 cohort with about 57.5% fully vaccinated.

The Lake County Health Department has gotten creative in its vaccination push. For example, it targeted teens with a School Spirit Day in May featuring shaved ice drinks, giveaways and music.

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"We're encouraged by the vaccination numbers we are seeing in that age group," spokeswoman Emily Young said.

DuPage County was second in Illinois with 54.6% of the 12-17 contingent fully vaccinated. Vaccination events have helped, such as walk-up clinics in July co-sponsored by Glenbard High School District 87 that resulted in 74 people getting shots.

Suburban Cook County is at 49.7% fully vaccinated among 12- to 17-year-olds. Will County stands at 47.2%. Kane County is at 46%, and McHenry County is at 43.5%, below the state average.

On Thursday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered statewide masking inside public places and also required vaccinations for all school and higher education employees.

A day later, IDPH data showed 26 school-related COVID-19 outbreaks over the last 30 days. Eight occurred in the suburbs.

In suburban Cook County, there were four hot spots, including Glenbrook Elementary School in Streamwood with 11 to 16 infections. Also listed with fewer than five cases each were Maine East High School in Park Ridge, Oak Park River Forest High School, and Reavis High School in Burbank. All involved students and were tied to classrooms except for Reavis, where the outbreak was sports-related, the IDPH reported Friday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Glenbrook is in Elgin Area School District U-46, and a classroom will be closed through Sept. 7, Superintendent Tony Sanders said.

"We're generally pleased with the high level of compliance with our COVID mitigation strategies, but we expect that we will continue to see COVID cases in a district of our size," Sanders said in an message to parents.

In Kane County, outbreaks happened involving staff members at East Aurora School District 131, and students and staff members at Kaneland John Shields Elementary School in Sugar Grove. In Will County, outbreaks took place at Nelson Ridge School in New Lennox where students were infected, and at Reed-Custer Elementary School in Braidwood involving staff members and students.

All four hot spots were classroom-related and each comprised fewer than five cases.

A number of educators said Pritzker's edicts are part of the reality of living with a pandemic.

"When I look at the driving light of all we're trying to do this year, it's to keep kids physically in school," said veteran teacher Michael Williamson, teachers union president at Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300. "Because we know when we keep them in school, we can do amazing things for them."

COVID-19 metrics showed a continued climb in August. This week's average daily caseload reached 3,572 compared to 3,550 from Aug. 15 to 21, up from 3,190 in the week of Aug. 8-14.

Also Friday, 14 more people died from the respiratory disease, the IDPH reported.

Illinois hospitals were treating 2,240 COVID-19 patients Thursday night.

On Thursday, 25,307 more COVID-19 shots were administered. The seven-day average is 24,056.

The federal government has delivered 16,146,505 doses of vaccine to Illinois since distribution began in mid-December, and 13,914,213 shots have been administered. The Pfizer vaccine, the only one approved for kids 17 and younger in the U.S., received full FDA approval Monday for ages 16 and up, with kids 12 to 15 eligible under FDA emergency authorization.

Statewide, 6,742,814 people have been fully vaccinated, 52.9% of Illinois' 12.7 million population.

The state's positivity rate for COVID-19 cases is 5.2% based on a seven-day average.

Total cases statewide stand at 1,508,005, and 23,889 Illinoisans have died since the pandemic began.

Labs processed 110,833 virus tests in the last 24 hours.

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