CHICAGO, Ill. (WCIA) — Governor JB Pritzker announced Friday afternoon that people who work in licensed day care centers are required to get COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing in order to prevent further spread of COVID and to protect the health and safety of young residents of Illinois.
Officials said over 55,000 day care center staff statewide will now be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if they have not done so already. Employees in these settings who are unable or unwilling to receive the vaccine will be required to get tested for COVID-19 at least once per week.
“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,” said Gov. Pritzker. “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.”
According to officials, to ensure Illinois youth who are not currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine are protected, all licensed day care center staff in Illinois will be required to receive their first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine by December 3, and the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series by January 3, 2022. Any day care center staff members who are not fully vaccinated by December 3 will have to do weekly COVID-19 testing until they are fully vaccinated.
Licensed day care centers are child care facilities licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The centers are operated outside an individual’s home and regularly provide child care for groups of children ages 0-12. There are 2,872 licensed day care centers in Illinois.
“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,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “Scientific and medical experts have reviewed the data and found the COVID-19 vaccine will avoid serious illness, hospitalization and even death.”
“Parents and families across Illinois trust day care staff with the health and safety of their young children every day. Vaccinated day care workers offer another level of protection and an increased level of comfort for parents and caregivers whose infants and toddlers are not yet eligible for the vaccine,” said Director of Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Marc D. Smith.
To slow the spread of the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant, all Illinois residents over the age of two have been required to wear a mask in all indoor settings since August 30 regardless of vaccination status.
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