When will Illinois see impact from COVID vaccinations?

Illinois health officials announced 2,433 new cases of COVID-19 and 18 related deaths Monday.

Video Transcript

- Today, Illinois is making homemade vaccines available to anyone 16 and older. But the change won't come to Chicago for another week.

- We welcome Dr. Robert Citronberg back to the show this morning. Our infectious disease expert from Advocate Aurora Health. Good morning, sir.

ROBERT CITRONBERG: Good morning, Tanya Drill.

- Now, many people are going to be trying to find a vaccine appointment this morning. Do you have any advice for them?

ROBERT CITRONBERG: It's getting a lot easier. If you're willing to travel a little bit out of the city, there are many vaccines that are gonna have appointments available. I just encourage people to try and try the appointments if they open up. And even if you live in the city of Chicago, you can travel outside the city, somewhere else in Illinois, to get your vaccine. So we're encouraging people to be patient. And just remember, we're probably about two months ahead of schedule, where we thought that we'd be able to open up vaccination to everybody 16 and old. This is great. Lots of appointments will be coming available next two weeks. It should be much, much easier for people to get their vaccine.

- Some good news. And Illinois, doc, has-- has been setting new records for the number of vaccinations. We're also seeing a higher number of cases and more people in the hospital. When do you think we'll see the impact of the vaccinations?

ROBERT CITRONBERG: Well, so I think it's already started. The data from Israel, which was the first country to really mass vaccinate the population, show that after about two to three weeks after the first shot, you started to see an effect on the population. And then about a week or so after the second shot, you saw really great effect on the population. Over 90%. So we've been at this now for a few months. We're already starting to see the effect of the vaccines.

In fact, even though the cases are going up, and they are going up, they are not going up at nearly the same rate that they did back in the fall and winter. And that is absolutely related to vaccines. We're now getting a substantial proportion of our population vaccinated. They're getting over 125,000 vaccine today right here in Illinois, which is fantastic. So I think we're already starting to see the effect.

- Dr. Citronberg, there's been a lot of talk about so-called vaccine passports. The idea is that people would need to show documents proving that they've been vaccinated in order to get into businesses or big events like sporting games. Now, from a health perspective, what do you think about this idea?

ROBERT CITRONBERG: I think it depends on what type of business it is. For example, if you're going to go on a cruise, I think it's reasonable to expect that all the passengers and all the crew are vaccinated. If you're going to the grocery store, where the risk is gonna be much lower, I don't think it's necessary. So I know this is a very controversial issue. But until we get to that herd immunity, where the majority of the population is vaccinated, there will be some businesses where I think it's reasonable to require vaccinations to enter. But again, those should be high risk businesses.

And as we get more of the population vaccinated, the need for these so-called vaccine passports will diminish.

- All right. So we'll see how it all plays out. Dr. Robert Citronberg, as always, good to see you doc. Thank you.