Continued caution for unvaccinated individuals
Since the entire adult population became eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in Chicago in April 2021, test positivity in the city has dropped from just under 6% to less than 1%. Deaths and hospitalizations, two other key indicators of COVID-19 transmission in our surrounding communities, have also declined substantially in the past few months. Indeed, at the end of June 2021, there was an average of one death and three hospitalizations per day citywide. This heartening trend is also reflected in state and federal metrics as well. At UIC, seven-day rolling test positivity for the last week of June was 0.0%.
While this is definitely a cause for celebration after more than a year of stay-at-home orders, deaths and hospitalizations, it is important that individuals continue to remain cautious, particularly those who are not fully vaccinated yet.
From mid-January to early June, 98% of all new cases, 97% of all hospitalizations, and 98% of all deaths in Chicago were among the unvaccinated. Statewide, as of late May the overall positivity, case rates, death rates and hospitalization rates have been extremely low. However, an examination of COVID rates among unvaccinated persons reveals that:
- Death rates are the worst they have been since February 16, 2020
- Hospitalization rates are the worst they have been since February 2, 2020
As of late June, about 50% of all Chicagoans were fully vaccinated (are 14 days from receiving their last doses in a COVID-19 vaccine series). While the overall city metrics show that having this large of a percentage of people vaccinated is keeping our Chicago rates low overall, the metrics for the half of the population who are unvaccinated clearly show how vulnerable those individuals still are.
There are several dangers associated with a large proportion of the population not vaccinating. In addition to being personally vulnerable to getting COVID-19 and having a much greater potential for becoming extremely ill, there will continue to be opportunities for COVID-19 to spread and mutate, creating the potential for variant strains. So far, the vaccines we have in the U.S. have good coverage for the variant strains which have arisen, but this may not be true of future variants.
Those who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated should still continue to exercise extreme caution, including wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing with all those who are not members of your household, washing your hands, and avoiding crowds, particularly those which are indoors.
If you have not been vaccinated yet, we strongly urge you to do so. Not only will it protect you from getting COVID-19 and nearly eliminate your chances of being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19 if you do get sick, it will also ensure the safety of our community as a whole, particularly those who cannot get the vaccine for medical reasons or for whom the vaccines are less effective, such as individuals who have had organ transplants.
Worried about fitting vaccination into your schedule? Getting vaccinated is easy and fast! To find out where you can get the vaccine, go to vaccines.gov — many locations now offer walk-in services, no appointment necessary.
You also can take advantage of free, convenient vaccination appointments that are available on campus. For more information about COVID-19 vaccination at UIC/UI Health or to make an appointment, visit vaccine.uihealth.care.
- Employees can call is 312-996-6565. If an employee has a medical question about a COVID-19 vaccine they can email email@example.com.
- Patients and the general public can call 833-53-MYVAX.
You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about how to get vaccinated at UIC/UI Health.