With children under age 12 not yet eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday announced a vaccine requirement for all licensed day care centers in the state.
“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 announcing the requirement.
All licensed day care center staff in Illinois must receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 3, according to the executive order. Those who receive a two-dose vaccine must receive their second dose by Jan. 3, 2022. Staff who are not fully vaccinated by Dec. 3 must, at a minimum, undergo weekly testing until they’re fully vaccinated.
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said the executive order is “the best way to protect the lives of thousands of Illinoisans.”
More than 55,000 day care center staff at 2,872 centers statewide will be required to get vaccinated if they haven’t already, according to the governor’s office.
“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 day care centers as more and more parents return to work,” Pritzker said.
Pritzker has previously announced vaccination or regular testing requirements for all pre-K through 12th grade teachers and staff; all higher education students and staff; health care workers in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, urgent care facilities and doctors’ offices.
In addition, all state employees who work in state congregate facilities, including Illinois Departments of Human Services (IDHS), Corrections (IDOC), Veterans Affairs (IDVA) and Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) must be vaccinated, according to the governor’s office.