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Waning COVID-19 vaccine immunity blamed for new COVID-19 outbreak at Peoria long-term care facility

As the U.S. races to vaccinate its population, the development of better COVID-19 vaccines has already begun.
As the U.S. races to vaccinate its population, the development of better COVID-19 vaccines has already begun.

Peoria County is currently undergoing one of the largest COVID-19 long-term care facility outbreaks seen since vaccine became widely available. But unlike earlier outbreaks, the residents are vaccinated this time around.

Health department administrator Monica Hendrickson said more than 20 cases are currentlly reported at Grandview Memorial Care.

"Booster vaccinations are very important," she said. "The population we are working with are one that was on the initial drive to get vaccines early on because of their higher risk, and they are currently vaccinated."

Hendrickson said the vaccinated Grandview residents now contracting COVID-19 aren't suffering from severe cases or being hospitalized, however.

A CDC panel on Thursday issued recommendations for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots. Pfizer boosters are already approved for some populations, including people age 65 and older.

"Whether it's going to be the one they receive initially or they go through the mix-and-match program, either way, the importance for that population to really, because of the waning immunity, get that additional booster at this point in time," she said.

Hendrickson said the majority of long-term care facility residents outside the Chicago area received Pfizer vaccines the first time around, and that population has been prioritized with the Pfizer boosters, as well.

She said the health department may receive the go-ahead to begin offering Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters as soon as Monday.

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