The deadline for health workers, teachers and higher education students to receive the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine has been extended by two weeks, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said on Friday.
Workers in the mandated groups will need to receive the first dose of a series of two-dose vaccinations or a single-dose vaccination by September 19, as officials note that hospitals and schools are working to implement. implementation of additional testing programs.
Second doses of the vaccine must be received within 30 days of the first dose, depending on state requirements.
The extension came at the request of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, the Illinois Education Association, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the Illinois Association of School Administrators and the Illinois Principals Association, officials said. .
Pritzker said the following groups will be required to receive the vaccine in a move he said was aimed at reducing the number of groundbreaking cases, hospitalizations and the spread of the delta variant:
- Health care workers, including workers in public and private retirement homes
- Kindergarten to Grade 12 teachers and staff
- Staff and students of higher education institutions
Those who do not receive the vaccine or who withdraw for medical reasons or a religious exemption must follow a testing schedule set by the state. Testing will be required once a week in schools and health facilities, but this requirement could increase in some cases, such as epidemics.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr Allison Arwady on Thursday reiterated the requirement for mandated groups, and noted that COVID vaccines are “free and widely available” statewide.
“There will definitely be more consequences and more follow-up where people haven’t done that, but please, to avoid this framework, if you work in health or education or if you are in higher education, please take the opportunity even this week and save yourself some follow-up problems, ”said Arwady.
Arwady said all Chicagoans over the age of 12 can register online or call (312) 746-4835 and make an appointment for the vaccination.
“Health care workers, school workers, higher education staff and students attending face-to-face classes who do not provide proof of vaccination will be barred from entering health and educational institutions unless that they do not follow the required test protocol, “says the latest state directive.
This decision was supported by the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Education Association.
“The upsurge in COVID-19 cases in our state reminds us that this vaccination mandate is a public health imperative,” said Dan Montgomery, president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers and Kathi Griffin, president of the Illinois Education Association, in a joint statement. “To implement it properly, widespread education and access to vaccines will be essential. For members who cannot or do not want to get vaccinated, we are happy to see that the governor has implemented weekly COVID tests. “
Pritzker also reinstated a mask mandate for the state, requiring indoor masks for residents as he says Illinois “is running out of time because our hospitals are running out of beds.”
The indoor mask mandate, similar to previous warrants in Cook County and Chicago, requires indoor facial covers regardless of COVID vaccination status.
Pritzker said the delta variant “is of increasing concern to our hospital capacity in communities across Illinois.”
“Let’s be clear, vaccination is the most effective tool we have to keep people from going to the hospital and prevent deaths,” he said.
Calling it “an unvaccinated pandemic,” Pritzker said “you don’t have to be an epidemiologist to understand what’s going on here.”