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Illinois Health Associations Encourage COVID-19 Boosters as New Cases Spike

Community Health Workers continue to advocate and provide access to patients

A late-summer surge in Illinois COVID-19 infections is prompting community health and wellness advocates to again stress the importance of vaccination – especially at the beginning of the new school year.

Citing data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), such as hospital admissions and emergency department visits, the Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA) and Illinois Primary Health Care Association (IPHCA) called today for Illinoisans to schedule COVID-19 shots as more students return to classrooms.

“It’s important for us to do our part as seasons change to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Tracey Smith, DNP, PHCNS-BC, MS, director of community health at IPHA. “We have been here before and worked together with our resources and Community Health Workers to make it through. Vaccinations thwart severe infections that keep families apart, more kids out of school and pose long-term health risks for immunocompromised Illinoisans in neighborhoods across Illinois safer for everyone.”

COVID-19 hospital admissions in Illinois increased by nearly 20 percent over the week ending Aug. 19, according to data collected by the CDC. The most substantial increases were recorded in central, eastern, southern and northeastern Illinois counties, including Cook, DuPage and Lake. Ongoing wastewater surveillance by the Illinois Dept. of Public Health indicated Aug. 25 of “moderate COVID-19 activity.”

In Illinois, Community Health Workers (CHWs) are increasing access to COVID-19 vaccines as well as seasonal influenza vaccines by setting up their own vaccine clinics and providing transportation to and from vaccine appointments in their service area. Their trusted voice in underserved communities has also allowed them to share more information about the CDC Bridge Access Program, which allows residents access to COVID-19 vaccinations through 2024 regardless of insurance status.

New COVID-19 vaccines and immunization recommendations are expected in mid-September from the CDC.

In addition to a similar campaign recently launched by IDPH, IPHA and IPHCA are on social media and in search engine advertisements this month encouraging vaccination ahead of the new school year.

To learn more about CHWs and COVID-19 prevention check out these resources:


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