(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a new executive order Friday that requires people who work in licensed day care centers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing.
Workers at the state’s 2,872 licensed day care facilities – an estimated 55,000 people – must get vaccinated or be tested for COVID-19 at least once a week, according to the governor’s directive.
“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,” the governor 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.”
In August, Pritzker issued an executive order requiring vaccinations for state employees who work in the congregate facilities, including those at the Illinois Departments of Human Services, Corrections, Veterans Affairs and Juvenile Justice. The governor has also issued vaccine mandates for Pre-K-12 teachers and staff; higher education personnel, higher education students and health care workers in hospitals, nursing homes, urgent care facilities and doctor offices.
Day care workers who haven’t already been vaccinated against COVID-19 must get their first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 3, and the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series by Jan. 3, 2022. Those not fully vaccinated by Dec. 3, will have to do, at a minimum, weekly COVID-19 testing until they are fully vaccinated, according to the governor’s executive order.
“For continued, ongoing protection of our youth not yet eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, this Executive Order is the best way to protect the lives of thousands of Illinoisans,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. “Scientific and medical experts have reviewed the data and found the COVID-19 vaccine will avoid serious illness, hospitalization, and even death.”