Advocate Aurora resumes vaccinations at suburban Chicago hospital after four reactions prompt pause

Posted at 10:16 PM, Dec 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-20 11:22:31-05

LIBERTYVILLE, IL. — Advocate Aurora will resume vaccinations at one of its hospitals in Illinois after four reactions prompted a cautionary pause.

Officials with the hospital system said it paused administering vaccinations to its team at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, IL., Friday after four people experienced reactions after receiving the shot.

Officials said one person had a severe reaction. The hospital observed the patient overnight and has since sent that person home. Otherwise, officials say the three other people's reactions were "mild."

Dr. Robert Citronberg is the executive medical director of infectious disease and prevention at Advocate Aurora Health, and he said he spoke to one of the people who had a mild reaction Saturday.

"We reached out to that physician today who's feeling great and said he absolutely is 100 percent behind continued vaccination of our population knowing how important this is to end our pandemic, he has no hesitation whatsoever," Citronberg said.

Advocate Aurora only paused vaccinations at Condell. It never paused vaccinations at any of its sites in Wisconsin.

Dr. Citronberg said they consulted the Centers for Disease Control as well as state and local health authorities, and they all approved the system's plan to continue vaccinations Sunday.

Citronberg said he's confident there aren't any issues with the supply, because he said vaccines from the same lot went out to other health facilities in Lake County, Illinois, and no one has since reported problems.

"We're going to have occasional reactions, there's no doubt about it, and I feel that we are adequately prepared to handle those if and when they occur," Citronberg said.

He said Advocate Aurora Health has administered about 6,000 vaccine doses to its workers this week and says there's no plans to slow down.

"The vaccine is the only way out of the pandemic at this point, and we expect there to be some occasional safety concerns with the vaccine," Citronberg said. "But on balance, this is a miracle that we have this vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine, we have another vaccine coming next week. It's a miracle that we have this, and with successful vaccination of the population, we can end this pandemic in the next several months."

On Saturday afternoon, a CDC committee recommended the Moderna vaccine for emergency use.

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