Many Chicagoans who think they're ineligible for COVID-19 booster shots might be wrong.
- At a Friday press conference, city health commissioner Allison Arwady urged adults who got their Pfizer or Moderna vaccine six months ago to "get a booster" even if it's just to attend "higher risk events."
Why it matters: Official federal guidance is a lot stricter, but Arwady appears to be mirroring California health authorities by unofficially expanding booster eligibility based on self-assessed risk.
What they're saying: Arwady described eligible people as those 18 and over who got Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations and "are for any reason at increased risk."
- Her criteria: "If they have any kind of underlying condition or if they're working or living or even attending a higher risk event, we are encouraging them to also get a booster."
What we're seeing: Anecdotally, we know several Chicagoans who have easily obtained the booster but don't technically meet federal eligibility standards.
- Folks seeking those boosters are not being asked to prove eligibility through medical or occupational records.
- Monica confirmed this by getting a booster for her daughter and herself Friday.
Context: Last week Pfizer officially lobbied U.S. health authorities to open booster eligibility to anyone over 18.
- Governors in Colorado and New Mexico, facing rising COVID infections, unilaterally opened eligibility to all adults in their states on Friday.
What's next: With rising rates in Chicago and Illinois, local leaders might be pressured to do the same.
- Based on Arwady's comments, we think Chicago (unofficially) already has.
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