State offers extension for meeting vaccine requirement

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike announced an extension of vaccination requirements for individuals in high-risk settings.

All healthcare workers, including nursing home employees, all P-12 teachers and staff, as well as higher education personnel and students will now be required to receive an initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 19.

The extended deadline came at the request of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, as well as education leaders including the Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Illinois Association of School Administrators and Illinois Principals Association, who the governor’s office said best understand the localized needs of hospitals and schools implementing their own testing, vaccine and accountability protocols.

Entities continue to be permitted and encouraged to put in place more stringent vaccination requirements.

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.

“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,” said Pritzker.

“Even as our hospitals and schools are taking the necessary steps to ensure compliance with the testing and accountability measures mandated in Executive Order 2021-22, we recognize that some institutions will need additional time in which to establish procedures that will guarantee they are compliant,” added IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.

To combat the more contagious Delta variant, on Aug. 26 Pritzker announced that all healthcare workers, 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.

With Executive Order 2021-22, workers and students in applicable settings must receive the first dose of a two-dose vaccination series or a single-dose vaccination by Sept. 19.

The two-week extension will allow for more schools and hospitals to implement the new accountability measures. The second doses of either two-dose vaccine must be received by 30 days after the first dose, as directed by vaccine providers.

“Our school leaders said they needed more time to plan and communicate, and I thank Gov. Pritzker and Dr. Ezike for providing this extension. While testing is an option for all school personnel, vaccination is the safest and most effective defense against COVID-19. I encourage everyone who works with our students to use this extra time to get vaccinated,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala.


30,319 new COVID-19 cases in Illinois over past week