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Pritzker Receives COVID Vaccine, More Than 5 Million Shots Given In Illinois

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois Governor JB Pritzker received a Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine Tuesday, adding his name to the list of more than five million shots administered in the state.

At the Illinois State Fairgrounds mass vaccination site, Governor JB Pritzker said he happy getting the vaccine and encouraged others to do the same. He added that the vaccine has been given to 66% of the population that's 65 and over.

"We really do have a fighting chance now to bring this pandemic to an end," Pritzker said. "We have three incredibly effective and protective vaccines that will protect people from getting very sick, prevent them from needing to go to the hospital and will keep people alive who would otherwise pass away from this virus."

The governor added that it's too early to start thinking about relaxing COVID restrictions, despite more people in the state getting vaccinated.

"We need to get much closer to herd immunity before we start talking about people taking their mask off and nobody wearing a mask," Pritzker said. "Remember, only a third of adults have been vaccinated, so we're not anywhere near herd immunity yet."

Pritzker said none of his family members have been vaccinated yet. He weighed in on the Loretto Hospital COVID vaccine controversy and said those receiving the vaccine need to distribute it according to the rules set by the Chicago Department of Public Health.

"People who are the administrators of the vaccines need to be responsible need to follow the rules," Pritzker said. "If you're violating those guidelines, you shouldn't be getting back to give out (more) until we can prove that you're following the guidelines."

The governor also commented on rising number of COVID cases in Chicago. Pritzker said as of now there are no plans to revert to previous mitigation restrictions in that area.

"If Chicago breaches that level of interest, yeah, I mean it's just like any other region that we've had in our plan. That's something that we would look at," Prtizker said.  "I don't expect us to get there but I'm also I've been to this movie before, and seeing the rising positivity rates. And I'm concerned about it."

He said people still need to adhere to COVID restrictions put in place at the start of the pandemic to avoid COVID case spikes.

"If for some reason we need to halt and move some region back into a previous phase because the numbers are going way up and beyond the guidelines that we set out for those phases, then we'll have to do that but that's not where we are now," Pritzker said.

"There is more activity going on, and I think people maybe are being a little less careful," Pritzker said. "And I want to remind everybody please keep your distance, please continue to wear your mask, please be respectful of others."

On Wednesday, the state reported 2,793 new COVID cases and an additional 20 deaths. It is the largest number of new cases reported in a day since February 11.

The 2.8% case positivity rate is the highest it's been in a month.

As of Tuesday night, 1,261 people were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of that number, 269 patients were in the ICU and 130 were were on ventilators.

On Tuesday, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported 1,832 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 as well as 13 additional deaths.

IDPH reported that since the beginning of the pandemic, the state reported more than 1,200,000 cases, including 21,116 deaths.

On Tuesday, more than 107,000 doses were reported administered in Illinois.

For anyone wanting to schedule a COVID vaccine appointment, call 833-621-1284.

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