Oct 22, 2021 - Health

Illinois mandates daycare workers to receive COVID vaccine or weekly testing

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker talking.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during a round table discussion with high school students in October 2018. Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced Friday that all daycare workers in the state will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or or submit to weekly testing.

Driving the news: Pritzker said he was issuing the requirement to protect "babies, toddlers, and young children not yet eligible for the vaccine."

  • Illinois has seen a 50% drop in COVID-19 cases from seven weeks ago when the state averaged 4,331 new cases per day, CBS Chicago reports.

The big picture: The executive order requires over 55,000 daycare staff to receive their first dose by Dec. 3 and their second dose by Jan. 3, if they are taking a two-dose regimen.

  • In August, Pritzker mandated a mask mandate for preschool through high school students and staff and a vaccine mandate for some state employees.
  • Children over 5 soon may have access to the vaccine. In a study released Friday, Pfizer and BioNTech said their COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective at protecting children between the ages of 5 and 11.

What they're saying: "Vaccinations offer life-saving protection for the people who receive them and make the community safer for the people who can’t – including the babies, toddlers, and young children not yet eligible for the vaccine,” Pritzker said in a statement.

  • "By extending vaccine-or-test requirements to those who work at licensed day care centers, we are adding another level of protection for our youngest residents and preventing outbreaks in daycare centers as more and more parents return to work," he added.
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