For months, President Joe Biden has laid out goal after goal for taming the coronavirus pandemic and then exceeded his own benchmarks. Now, though, the U.S. is unlikely to meet his target to have 70% of Americans at least partially vaccinated by July 4.
The White House has launched a month-long blitz to combat vaccine hesitancy and a lack of urgency to get shots, particularly in the South and Midwest, but it is increasingly resigned to missing the president’s vaccination target. The administration insists that even if the goal isn’t reached, it will have little effect on the overall U.S. recovery, which is already ahead of where Biden said it would be months ago.
Meanwhile, Illinois public health officials on Wednesday reported 408 new and probable cases of COVID-19 and 23 additional deaths. The seven-day statewide positivity rate now stands at 1.0%.
There were 50,231 doses of the vaccine administered Tuesday and the seven-day rolling average of daily doses is 45,852. Officials said 68% of Illinois adults have received at least one vaccine dose and 51% of adults are fully vaccinated.
Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area:
12:30 p.m.: You can ask your doctors if they’ve gotten the COVID-19 vaccine, but you may not get an answer. Here’s why.
As Illinois reopens and people catch up on long-postponed checkups and health care, some patients have a new question for their doctors: Are you vaccinated?
Many providers say they’re happy to share that information with patients, in hopes of assuaging their fears about getting the shots. But it’s not always easy information for patients to get ahead of appointments if they’re worried about being up-close and personal with unvaccinated doctors, nurses, dentists or optometrists.
While most employers in the health care industry are not requiring vaccinations, as of early March, about 71% of frontline health care workers who responded to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Washington Post said they were vaccinated or planning to get the shot.
That percentage has likely increased as vaccines have become plentiful and hesitancy about them has waned, said Ashley Kirzinger, associate director for public opinion and survey research at Kaiser. Still, she said, there’s a segment of both health care workers and the general population who remain opposed to getting the vaccines.
The fact that many people remain unvaccinated has some people asking everyone in their lives — including health care providers — if they’ve gotten shots.
“After 16 months of pandemic, it makes sense that people … are concerned about their safety and who they’re coming into contact with,” Kirzinger said. “We’re getting used to asking our friends and family members and each other if they’re vaccinated, so it makes sense that individuals would also be asking that of their health care providers.”
Not all health systems, however, may be willing or able to reveal individual health care workers’ vaccination statuses.
12:05 p.m.: 50,231 vaccine doses administered, 408 new cases and 23 deaths reported