Top Chicago public health official urges vaccines as holiday nears


Chicago Public Health officials are promoting vaccines ahead of the holidays as some COVID-19 numbers trend downward.

Thursday is technically the last day to get fully vaccinated ahead of Thanksgiving – and Chicago’s top doctor is once again warning that the pandemic is still with us ahead of the holiday season.   

“I know it feels like the holidays are a long way away. They are not,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, health officials at the local and state level are raising concerns about the spread of COVID-19, as many hope to travel and gather in groups.

“Please, if you’re planning to host people for the holidays, do everything you can to make those gatherings as safe as possible,” Arwady said.

Arwady says there are now 40 states on Chicago’s travel advisory, noting that things are trending in the wrong direction across the Midwest.   

“Every one of the states around Illinois is now on the increase when it comes to the numbers,” she said. “Illinois, itself, has started to have a slight increase as has Chicago.”

Starting Oct. 24, Chicago’s daily case count rose once again — now averaging 382 new cases per day and nearing the significant 400 a day count.

“That is up 22% from a week ago,” Arwady said. “We’re getting closer back to that 400 cases per day mark, which would put us into a high transmission state. Our test positivity is good but that’s up from 1.7 a week ago.”

Arwady pushed youth vaccination and reminded parents that Chicago Public Schools would host “Vaccination Awareness Day” on Friday, calling it the perfect opportunity for kids to get the shot.

“This is an investment for the rest of the school year,” Arwady said.

New CPS CEO Pedro Martinez agreed.

“I urge our families, please take advantage of that Thursday through Sunday weekend to get your children vaccinated – especially our 5 to 11-year-olds because I want to have a strong second semester,” Martinex said. “I want to have stability in our classrooms.”

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