Illinois licensed day care workers mandated to get COVID-19 vaccine, undergo weekly testing

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) issued an executive order on Friday requiring all licensed day care center workers to either get the COVID-19 vaccine or submit to regular weekly testing.

Licensed day care center workers will be required to get their first COVID-19 shot by Dec. 3 if they have not so already, and the second shot of a two-dose regimen must be administered by Jan. 3, 2022. Employees will start to undergo COVID-19 testing at a minimum weekly if they remain not fully vaccinated by Dec. 3.

The requirement applies to all 55,000 day care center employees at all 2,872 licensed facilities in the state. Pritzker’s office noted in their announcement that the mandate was being made to protect children who were not yet authorized by the health agencies to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

"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."

The governor’s office noted that several other sectors already have mandates in place for weekly testing or COVID-19 vaccine requirements, including for certain healthcare workers, all higher education students and personnel and staff working at pre-K to 12th grade schools. 

Illinois is seeing a downward trend of COVID-19 cases, reporting over 2,100 infections on Thursday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Exactly one month ago, on Sept. 21, the state saw just over 3,000 cases. 

Roughly 81 percent of people in Illinois aged 12 years and older have been at least partially vaccinated while 64 percent are fully vaccinated, per CDC data.