The number of people getting their COVID-19 shots in Illinois rose in the last two weeks, following a steady decline in doses since mid-April.
So what changed? Two weeks ago the Centers for Disease Control changed its guidelines for masking if you’re vaccinated. If you’ve gotten both shots, you can go mask-free.
Local healthcare providers noticed a direct correlation, according to Awais Vaid, the Deputy Administrator & Epidemiologist for the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District. Right after the guidance changed, more people starting calling, wanting to get immunized.
There was a significant increase in traffic at the walk-in clinics too. Where weeks ago, the Champaign public health clinic was seeing five to 10 people a day, it increased to 50 to 60.
“I know it was a little bit abrupt and people were taken aback without some more clarifications, but I think in our mind, it was very clear,” Vaid explained. “We were waiting for some of the scientific evidence to show that the vaccines work, and it works, even if you’re around people who are not vaccinated because you are protected.”
The CDC’s shift wasn’t labeled as an incentive, but it certainly worked that way. Vaid said Carle Hospital and the area pharmacies saw a similar bump in interest.