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Illinois Coronavirus Updates: J&J Boosters, Travel Advisory, Return to School Visits - NBC Chicago

Illinois Coronavirus Updates: J&J Boosters, Travel Advisory, Return to School Visits - NBC Chicago

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Johnson & Johnson released new data surrounding booster shots of the single-dose coronavirus vaccine, showing they provide a strong immune response months after people receive a first dose. But what will that mean for those who already got their first dose of the vaccine?

Plus, U.S. Secretary of Education of Miguel Cardona is scheduled to make three stops in Illinois and a "special announcement" at a suburban Chicago school as part of a "Return to School Road Trip."

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic across Illinois today:

Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer: What We Know About Booster Shots So Far

Johnson & Johnson released a new update on the potential for a booster shot of its single-dose coronavirus vaccine Tuesday, but as booster shots continue to be debated nationwide, what's next for all three COVID vaccines currently being administered in the U.S.?

Pfizer, Moderna and J&J have each conducted studies surrounding booster doses of their vaccines.

Scientists inside and outside the government have been divided in recent days over the need for boosters and who should get them.

Here's what we know so far.

Chicago Travel Advisory at 48 States, 3 Territories as Some Spots Removed, Others Return

Chicago's travel advisory has been updated once again, and although there are still 48 states and three territories on the city's warning list, the locations included still changed.

That's because Connecticut and the District of Columbia, both of which had been dropped from the advisory last week, are now back under the "orange category," which recommends unvaccinated travelers from such locations test negative for COVID-19 and quarantine.

At the same time, however, California and Puerto Rico fell off.

Full details here.

Bus Driver Shortage Forces Some Oswego Schools to Cancel In-Person Learning

A bus driver shortage forced a suburban school district to switch some of its schools to remote learning Tuesday, closing multiple schools down to students.

Community Unit School District 308 in Oswego wrote in an "urgent message" early Tuesday that "due to a large number of bus driver absences today, we cannot accommodate transportation for all students."

The shortage forced the district's high school and junior high into remote learning, with officials saying the school buildings are not open for student attendance. Staff would still need to report to classrooms, however.

Early learning classes were also canceled Tuesday, except for the district's Deaf and Hard of Hearing program.

Elementary schools would remain open for in-person attendance and busses would still run, though "large delays" were expected.

Read more here.

Chicago Travel Advisory Set for Update Tuesday

Chicago's travel advisory is set for an update Tuesday, one week after the city removed Connecticut and the District of Columbia from its list.

The removal of the state and territory marked the only two locations to be taken off the city's travel warning list, which recommends unvaccinated travelers from such locations test negative for COVID-19 and quarantine.

"I'm happy to say that we do have two states, well technically one state - Connecticut, and then D.C., Washington D.C. - that have now come off the travel advisory," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a Facebook Live last week. "So the rest of the country is still on, but it's nice to see a little bit of progress. Connecticut is one of the most vaccinated areas, and so hopefully we'll continue to see states turn yellow on this map."

States are added to the advisory's "orange list" when COVID metrics rise above the threshold of 15 cases per day per 100,000 people. Any below that mark are on the "yellow" list, with public health officials still warning against non-essential travel.

US Education Secretary to Make 3 Stops in Illinois, 'Special Announcement'

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona is scheduled to make three stops in Illinois Tuesday as part of a "Return to School Road Trip," with a "special announcement" expected during one of the events.

Cardona will first visit Walter R. Sundling Junior High School in Palatine for what he and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker say will be a "special announcement," though further details on what it might be have not yet been released. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy will also be attendance.

Cardona will also tour a health center in Cicero administering COVID-19 vaccinations and Chicago State University, where he will host a roundtable discussion on "the future of predominantly Black institutions and equity in education."

The bus tour taking place this week aims to "highlight schools and communities that have safely welcomed students back to in-person learning," according to a release from the U.S. Department of Education.

Watch live here.

J&J Says 2nd Dose of Its COVID-19 Vaccine Boosts Protection

Johnson & Johnson released data showing that a booster dose to its one-shot coronavirus vaccine provides a strong immune response months after people receive a first dose.

J&J said in statement Tuesday that it ran two early studies in people previously given its vaccine and found that a second dose produced an increased antibody response in adults from age 18 to 55. The study's results haven't yet been peer-reviewed.

Read more here.

Chicago-Area Doctors Express Hope After Pfizer Says COVID Vaccine Safe for Kids Ages 5 to 11

Pfizer says it’s ready to seek approval from the FDA to give its coronavirus vaccine to kids ages 5-to-11, and Chicago area doctors are hailing that news as an important step forward in finally stamping out the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have been anticipating this. We’re really excited about it. Waiting for the EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) to go in before we can look at the final data,” said Dr. Frank Belmonte,Chief Medical Officer at Advocate Children’s Hospital.

After clinical trials involving more than 2,268 children, age 5 to 11, Pfizer and BioNTech say the vaccine showed “robust neutralizing antibody responses," and that research shows that it is safe for children to take.

The clinical trial consisted of a two-dose regimen, 21 days apart, with children in the younger age group getting a smaller dose of vaccine than what’s been authorized for individuals ages 12 and up.

COVID Vaccine for Children Under 12: Pfizer's Latest Update, Timing and More

Pfizer's latest announcement that its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11 and that it will seek U.S. authorization for this age group soon marked a key step toward beginning vaccinations for youngsters. But when could that happen?

Dr. Bill Gruber, a Pfizer senior vice president, told The Associated Press the companies aim to apply to the Food and Drug Administration by the end of the month for emergency use in this age group, followed shortly afterward with applications to European and British regulators.

Earlier this month, FDA chief Dr. Peter Marks told the AP that once Pfizer turns over its study results, his agency would evaluate the data “hopefully in a matter of weeks” to decide if the shots are safe and effective enough for younger kids.

The timeline follows earlier predictions from health care experts who said authorization could come this fall for kids under 12.

Read more.

FDA Approval, Kids, Boosters and More: Which COVID Vaccine is Best for You?

From booster shots to FDA approval and emergency use authorization to efficacy against the delta variant and more, how do the COVID vaccines compare to each other and which is best for you?

There are various reasons why someone might choose a particular vaccine, but according to medical experts, the most important thing is getting vaccinated.

Still, it's a question many ask as they prepare for their vaccination.

According to medical experts, the three vaccines currently available in the U.S. each offer protection, but certain factors could determine which vaccine you are eligible to receive.

Here's a breakdown of what we know so far about each vaccine.

Moderna vs. Pfizer: Is One Vaccine Stronger Against Delta Variant?

With many now able to choose which COVID vaccine they receive, questions surrounding which offers better protection against the now-surging delta variant have spiked.

Several studies have been conducted to determine vaccine effectiveness, but is one vaccine actually better than the others?

According to medical experts, the three vaccines currently available in the U.S. each offer protection.

Here's a breakdown of what we know so far about each vaccine.

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