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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.

Go deeper

Nov 26, 2021 - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.

Nov 26, 2021 - Health

Fauci: U.S. "rushing" to get scientific data about new COVID variant

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

U.S. public health officials were set to speak Friday with their South Africa counterparts as they sought scientific details about a new COVID-19 variant already prompting European and Asian countries to enact new travel restrictions.

Driving the news: Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical adviser, told CNN Friday "we're rushing now to get that scientific data to try and make an informed decision" on a possible travel ban.

Updated Nov 26, 2021 - Health

Europe, Asia tighten borders in fear of new COVID variant

Passengers stand at the check-in at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Boris Roessler/dpa via Getty Images

Countries across Europe and Asia are rushing through new travel restrictions in response to a new COVID variant identified by scientists in South Africa.

The big picture: Israel, Japan, the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Singapore are moving to restrict entry from countries in the south of Africa, AP reports. Many are also adding quarantines for their own citizens upon return from the region.