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Pritzker: Illinois teachers and healthcare workers have more time to get vaccinated

The governor extended the deadline to Sept. 19, at the request of hospitals and schools leaders.
Credit: AP
A COVID-19 vacation appointments sign points the way at Edward Hospital in Naperville, Ill., Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. Illinois received about 43,000 doses in its first shipment of a COVID-19 vaccine Monday as health officials reported another 103 coronavirus deaths statewide. Most of the shots will be distributed to local health care centers for health care workers, according to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

ILLINOIS, USA — Hospitals and schools in Illinois now have an extra two weeks to get their workers vaccinated.

Governor JB Pritzker and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike announced on Friday that the vaccine requirement for hospital and school employees will now be required to receive an initial dose of the shot by Sept.19.

Originally, the Governor announced that all healthcare workers, including nursing home employees, P-12 teachers and staff, higher education personnel and students would be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or submit to regular testing requirements. The second dose of either two-dose vaccine must be received by 30 days after the first dose, as directed by vaccine providers. 

READ: Mask mandate starts in Illinois, teachers to be required to get COVID-19 vaccine

The extended deadline came at the request of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association (IHA), the Illinois Education Association (IEA), the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA), and Illinois Principals Association (IPA). 

However, the governor's office makes it clear that "the Executive Order does not prohibit any entity from implementing a requirement that personnel, contractors, students or other visitors be fully vaccinated without providing the alternative to test on a weekly basis consistent with applicable law."

"Vaccines remain our strongest tool to protect ourselves from COVID-19, the Delta variant, and most crucially, to maintain our healthcare system’s ability to care for anyone who walks through their doors in need of help,” said Governor JB Pritzker in a press release. “While hospitals and schools move forward in good faith, this extension ensures they are prepared to meet this requirement to better protect our most vulnerable residents and children who are not yet eligible to get vaccinated.”

As of today, 8.4 million Illinoisans (66.2%) have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 6.5 million are fully vaccinated (51.4%). Illinois continues to be a leader in the Midwest in vaccinating its residents. 

RELATED: Local educators react to Gov. Pritzker's vaccination requirement

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