File Photo – Gov. J.B. Pritzker | Provided Photo

State officials are celebrating the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 vaccinations in Illinois and are urging fully-vaccinated residents to receive their booster shots.

On December 15, 2020, around 450 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines were administered to health care workers after the first doses were delivered to the state the day before.

Since then, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) hosted more than 5,600 vaccination clinics across the state to deliver more than 18 million doses.

That includes 1,400 youth-school clinics and around 1,900 equity-based clinics, with more clinics already on the schedule.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 71% of Illinois residents have received one dose of the vaccine, and 63% are fully vaccinated. Among those fully vaccinated, 30% have received a booster dose.

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Governor JB Pritzker celebrated the anniversary and praised scientists, researchers and health professionals. He and IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike urged residents to receive their booster shots.

“I am incredibly grateful for the scientists, researchers and public health professionals who made this historic effort possible, allowing us to reunite with loved ones, return to small businesses, and engage with our communities once again. As we recognize the progress we’ve made, I urge all eligible Illinoisans to receive their vaccine or booster and protect themselves and their families this holiday season,” Pritzker said.

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said, “We have come a long way from the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered a year ago today, and we must continue our fight against this pandemic.”

“Since that first day, we’ve seen one COVID-19 vaccine fully approved, the age for those eligible to receive a vaccine expanded to everyone 5 years and older, and booster doses for everyone 16 years and older. I urge anyone who is hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine to look at the successful history of these safe and effective vaccines,” Ezike added.

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“The vaccines then and now play an important role in helping to bring the pandemic under control,” said Mike Cruz, M.D., Chief Operating Officer for OSF HealthCare.

“We are still seeing a major impact on our health care system with the latest surge of COVID-19 patients and encourage everyone to get fully vaccinated or receive a booster dose when able. It’s still our best shot at ending, or at least controlling, the pandemic,” Cruz added.

Organizations wanting to host a vaccination clinic in their community can apply online at www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/vaccinationclinics.html.

Five of the state’s community-based testing sites across Illinois also offer vaccinations. Residents can visit www.vaccines.gov to find vaccination locations near them.