How funding cuts for COVID-19 tests and treatments could worsen health disparities

INDIANAPOLIS — At the start of the pandemic, many wished there was a pill people could swallow to make a COVID-19 infection go away. Two years later, we have not just one, but two of those pills, in addition to other outpatient and inpatient treatments. https://cpa.ds.npr.org/s4780019/audio/2022/03/covidfunding-feature-web.mp3 Listen to this story here. The federal government established […]

Danville pastor urges those ‘on the fence’ to get vaccinated

DANVILLE – As we march toward the two-year point in the COVID-19 pandemic the headlines have become real life for many in Illinois. One Vermilion County family, dealing with loss has now teamed up with the state in hopes of saving more lives. Pastor Ken McCray and his wife Rene have led a church in […]

COVID cases are surging again. Is it safe to gather for the holidays?

ST. LOUIS — With a recent jump in new coronavirus infections and the emergence of the highly contagious omicron variant, Americans are weighing whether it’s safe to gather for the holidays — again. Though vaccinations have helped curb the spread of the virus and encouraged the return of holiday traditions this year, an uneasy sense […]

Faith, medicine and COVID-19: Why do religious vaccine exemptions exist?

https://cpa.ds.npr.org/indiana/audio/2021/12/religious_vaccine_exemptions_history-context.mp3 Many employees are turning to religious exemptions as vaccine mandates become more common in workplaces. Exemptions are federally protected under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But what is the history of these exemptions and what are the consequences?  Imam Ahmed Alamine frequently speaks to his mosque in Indianapolis about getting vaccinated. In fact, […]

The FDA authorizes COVID booster shots for all U.S. adults

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has given its OK for fully vaccinated Americans who are age 18 and older to receive a COVID-19 booster shot. The FDA on Thursday granted emergency use authorization for a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which had already been available to people 65 and older […]

Kids aged 5 to 11 can get COVID shots. These Champaign kids were ready

CHAMPAIGN – Going maskless in school. Visiting a grandparent in India. Protecting a baby sister. These are some of the reasons Champaign-Urbana kids got vaccinated against COVID-19 on Wednesday in one of the county’s first clinics for the newly eligible, 5-11 age group. “Now that I know it doesn’t hurt too much, I’m actually looking […]

U of I team investigates spread of rural misinformation

URBANA – In some rural Illinois ZIP codes, only one in five people have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine. A lack of correct information seems to play a major role. A team at the University of Illinois is investigating how misinformation about COVID-19 spreads in rural areas of the state. U of I journalism professor Nikki […]

The FDA authorizes Moderna and J&J COVID vaccine boosters

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration authorized booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccines made by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson following unanimous votes by a committee of independent advisers backing the boosters last week. In a related decision, the FDA also authorized boosters that differ from the vaccine originally used to immunize a person […]

Exhausted hospital workers face ongoing COVID-19 hospitalizations

DES MOINES — On the eighth floor of Iowa Methodist Hospital in downtown Des Moines, 56-year-old Russell Braley watched daytime TV in one of the recovery units, breathing through a tube running from his nose to an oxygen unit. “I’ve been in motorcycle wrecks. I’ve almost died several times in my lifetime. This was the […]

90 percent of OSF HealthCare employees fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as mandate takes effect

PEORIA — Ninety percent of OSF HealthCare’s more than 24,000 employees system wide are vaccinated against COVID-19. The organization required employees to get vaccinated or obtain an exemption by the end of September. An OSF spokesperson says the healthcare system has granted both religious and medical exemptions from vaccination requirements. Those employees are subject to […]

What you need to know about COVID-19 booster shots

CARBONDALE — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have authorized COVID-19 booster shots for certain Pfizer recipients. But what exactly does that mean for individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine? Side Effects Public Media reporter Steph Whiteside spoke with Bart Hagston, the administrator of the health department […]

Immunocompromised People Produce Fewer Antibodies When Vaccinated, May Need Boosters

ST. LOUIS — As new coronavirus infections continue to climb and fast-spreading variants sweep the U.S., millions of Americans with autoimmune diseases are at risk. Patients with these chronic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, often take medications that tamp down on their immune response — rendering some vaccinations less effective. New research from […]

Pfizer’s COVID Vaccine Gets Full Approval From The FDA

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has formally approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. The widely anticipated decision replaces the emergency use authorization granted by the agency last December.Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images This is the first COVID-19 vaccine to be subject to a full review by the U.S. regulator and to get an approval […]