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Watch now: McLean County awaiting guidance on youth COVID shots

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BLOOMINGTON — The McLean County Health Department will await further guidance from state and federal authorities before offering vaccination appointments to those under the age of 16, officials said Tuesday. 

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorization it previously granted to Pfizer, changing the language so that those aged 12-15 were included as eligible for the vaccine.

FDA officials said in a release that "the known and potential benefits of this vaccine in individuals 12 years of age and older outweigh the known and potential risks," but they're not the only agency playing a deciding role. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advisory committee is slated to meet Wednesday to also discuss the matter before a formal recommendation is issued.

MCHD officials said that's what they're waiting on before they open up any appointments. 

Normal adjusts pool capacity under new state COVID guidelines

"MCHD will begin scheduling appointments for adolescents 12-15 years of age following a formal recommendation from the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health," the department said in a statement. 

So far, just more than 130,000 vaccines have been administered in McLean County, with nearly 60,000 people reported as fully-vaccinated, or 34.64% of the population. That state number is 35.73%. 

COVID update 

MCHD reported 24 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday.

That brings the total number of cases confirmed in the county to 17,967 since last year. Since then, 17,378 people who tested positive for the virus have been reported as recovered. 

MCHD said 331 people are currently isolating at home after exposure to the virus. The number of county residents hospitalized for the virus is 34, a one-person drop from Monday. OSF St. Joseph and Carle BroMenn medical centers reported a total of 40 patients in their care Tuesday, with an internal dashboard updated Monday showing that Carle BroMenn reported a total of 19. Bed availability remained tight: 93% of all total beds were reported as in-use Tuesday morning, along with 92% of all intensive care unit beds. 

The county's overall positivity rate held steady at 3.5% as of Monday, unchanged from the day before. 


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