Faith and Health Partnerships
COVID-19 Updates
Dec. 8, 2021

Nov. 10, 8:30 a.m.

A lower dose of the Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for emergency use in the 5-11 age group. In this Facebook Live Q&A session, our pediatric experts will answer your questions about kids and the COVID-19 vaccine. We’ll cover safety, clinical trials, how to schedule your child's appointment and more. Plus, we’ll share the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including flu guidelines and their recommendation on timing with the COVID-19 vaccine.

This Q&A will be hosted by Advocate Aurora Health CEO Jim Skogsbergh and he will be joined by Dr. Frank Belmonte, Chief Medical Officer of Advocate Children’s Hospital, Dr. Kevin Dahlman, Medical Director for Aurora Children's Health, and Dr. Markeita Moore, a pediatrician with Advocate Children’s Medical Group.
Myths vs. facts: COVID-19 vaccine for kids

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently approved the Pfizer vaccine for kids 5-11 but some parents still have lingering questions about COVID-19 vaccines.

Dr. Frank Belmonte, chief medical officer at Advocate Children’s Hospital, responds to some common myths parents may have heard.

Myth: Vaccines were rushed and may not be safe for children.

Fact: The vaccines are safe for children and clinical trial data showed the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine to be safe and effective for ages 5 and up. While the process of approval was accelerated, vaccines for coronaviruses have been studied for decades. This vaccine is a product of those studies.

Myth: Young people don’t need to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Kids don’t get COVID-19 and if they do, it is mild.

Fact: Children can and are contracting COVID-19. Millions of children have been diagnosed with the Delta variant and more children are being hospitalized with severe COVID-19 infection than was seen earlier in the pandemic.

Additionally, a COVID-19-related condition called the pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome is life-threatening and we have seen multiple cases here in Chicago and thousands across the nation.

Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine will impact fertility.

Fact: There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes a loss of fertility. Many people have become pregnant after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, including some who got vaccinated during COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials.

Myth: My child already had COVID-19, so they don’t need to get the vaccine.

Fact: Everyone who is eligible should be vaccinated, regardless of age or whether they already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. It’s also possible, although rare, that someone could be infected with COVID-19 again, even after recovering. Talk to your doctor or pediatrician if you’re unsure about how long you or your child should wait to get vaccinated after recovering from COVID-19.

CDC approves mixing and matching boosters

By: Grace Wong

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently approved the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, which allow people to mix and match all three vaccines for their additional shot.

“We have more and more data showing that boosters are effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death, and we also have good data with mixing and matching particularly with using the Johnson & Johnson first and then either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine second. That generates a very robust antibody response,” said Dr. Robert Citronberg, executive medical director of Infectious Disease and Prevention at Advocate Aurora Health. “This is all good news.”

Boosters are currently recommended for people 65 years and older and adults living in long-term care settings, who have underlying medical conditions or who work or live in high-risk settings. For people who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, the booster is also recommended for those received it two or more months ago.

Not only will the booster reinforce an immunity response, it will also help protect against the Delta variant and other variants that may emerge, Dr. Citronberg said.

“There’s pretty good evidence now that the effectiveness of the vaccine starts to wane after a few months, particularly in people who are really vulnerable to severe infection,” Dr. Citronberg said. “But the most important thing is for people who are unvaccinated to receive their primary series, because all three are still the best way to protect yourself and your community and prevent the emergence of new variants.”
Advocate Aurora Health offers COVID-19 vaccine to anyone 12 and older

Getting vaccinated is safe, effective and will help us beat COVID-19. We're currently vaccinating anyone 12 and older in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine are available to all eligible individuals: 

  • People who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago
  • People 65 or older and adults at an increased risk for COVID-19 who got both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago  

We’re also administering a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to people who are immunocompromised. See our booster shot FAQ for full eligibility details. 

We're not currently administering booster shots of the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine. We’ll share updates on these boosters soon.  
Advocate Aurora Health offers COVID-19 testing

We're offering easy and convenient COVID-19 tests, and you can expect to receive your results within 24-48 hours in LiveWell.

If you or your child are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you'll need to see a provider before getting tested.

If you need a test to travel or to return to work or school, or if you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 but aren’t experiencing symptoms, schedule your test in LiveWell. If you’re scheduling for someone under 18, make sure your account is connected to your child’s via proxy access.

You also can call 866-443-2584 to schedule an appointment.
Advocate Aurora Health Symptom Checker brings peace of mind

If you think you've been exposed to COVID-19 or are unsure about symptoms you're experiencing, our symptom checker can answer your questions and help you find out what to do next. You can also call 866-443-2584.
Gathering Safely This Holiday Season
Safety tips for faith communities

Courtesy: CDC

For many faith traditions, gathering together for worship is at the heart of what it means to be a community of faith. But as Americans are now aware, gatherings present a risk for increasing spread of COVID-19 during this public health emergency.

CDC offers suggestions for faith communities to consider in the course of preparing to reconvene for in-person gatherings while still working to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Among CDC's suggestions:

  • Consider temporarily limiting the sharing of frequently touched objects, such as worship aids, prayer rugs, prayer books, hymnals, religious texts, and items passed or shared among congregants. Encourage congregants to bring their own such items, if possible, or photocopy or project prayers, songs, and texts using electronic means.

  • Modify the methods used to receive financial contributions. Consider a stationary collection box or electronic methods of collection instead of shared collection trays or baskets.

  • Consider whether physical contact (e.g., shaking hands, hugging, or kissing) can be limited among members of the faith community.

  • If food is offered at any event, consider pre-packaged options, and avoid buffet or family-style meals if possible.

See CDC's Considerations for Communities of Faith for additional suggestions.
Safer ways families can celebrate the holidays

Courtesy: CDC

Over the coming weeks, families across the country will gather for Thanksgiving and the holidays. According to the CDC, the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible.

In addition to vaccination, there are other ways to enjoy holiday traditions and protect your health:

Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated.

  • Even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission.
  • Outdoors is safer than indoors.
  • Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
  • If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
If you are considering traveling for a holiday or event, visit CDC’s Travel page to help you decide what is best for you and your family. CDC still recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated.

Special considerations:

  • You might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.
  • If you are gathering with a group of people from multiple households and potentially from different parts of the country, you could consider additional precautions (e.g., avoiding crowded indoor spaces before travel, taking a test) in advance of gathering to further reduce risk.
  • Do NOT put a mask on children younger than 2 years old.

By working together, we can enjoy safer holidays, travel, and protect our own health as well as the health of our family and friends.

A Thanksgiving safety guide

By Halli Heimbuch, program assistant, North Dakota State University Extension - Food and Nutrition
Reviewed by Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension food and nutrition specialist

Thanksgiving is a special time for gathering and enjoying meals with family and friends. To keep each other safe, especially during the ongoing pandemic, consider these safety recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Host/join a video chat celebration with family and friends.

If celebrating in person:
  • Sanitize surfaces, clean dishes and wash your hands often
  • Keep some distance, especially around the table and in other spaces indoors
  • Wear masks inside to protect each other, especially if you are not fully vaccinated or there are many people in a small space.
  • Let some fresh air in.

If you plan on traveling, be aware of the vaccination guidelines.
These are some steps you can take when celebrating to prevent foodborne illness:
  • When eating out, observe the restaurant’s overall cleanliness. Dirty tables, dinnerware and restrooms may point toward a dirty kitchen too.
  • Before sitting down at the table, wash your hands well before eating, especially after touching the menu or any shared serving utensils.
  • When choosing your food, especially at a self-serve type meal, beware of undercooked meat and lukewarm food.

Safely gathering: resources for faith communities
Resuming Care-Filled Worship and Sacramental Life During a Pandemic (The Ecumenical Consultation on Protocols for Worship, Fellowship, and Sacraments)
Mosque/Islamic Center Reopening Checklist (imana, American Muslim Health Professionals)
Guide to Reopening Church Services (Humanitarian Disaster Institute)
Advocate Aurora Local Services Guide

Ever have a congregational member look to you for a referral for services? Or have a family that needs extra support and you aren’t sure where to send them? Need to know more about programs that are available in the neighborhood you are serving? Advocate Aurora Health recognizes the need for an up-to-date, reliable, tested list of community services that are easily accessed with a click of a button.

The Advocate Aurora Health Local Services Guide, powered by NowPow, allows you to find free and low-cost options for food, safe housing, child care, transportation and more.

This resource can help you support the people you serve and it’s provided free-of-charge to you!
Want to hear from you!

We hope you find this update helpful as you promote the health of your members and community. Please contact Cindy Novak if you have questions or topics you'd like us to address. Thank you!
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